What is microgeneration?

Microgeneration is the production of heat or power on a very small scale, when compared to the outputs of a typical fossil-fuelled power station.

Unlike these large power stations which are often located hundreds of miles away from where the power is needed, microgeneration systems use the power where it is made. This means they are much more efficient as transmission and distribution losses are virtually eliminated.

There are a number of different microgeneration technologies and the majority of them are green, i.e. they use renewable energy and not fossil fuels.

A waterwheel can produce energyMicrogeneration technologies are environmentally friendly. They do not deplete the earth's natural resources and in most instances do not release carbon into the atmosphere. (CO2 emissions are one of the main causes of global warming and climate change)

As microgeneration technologies harness the power of the sun, the wind and natural river flow, all of which are freely available, they can reduce overall energy costs in a typical application.

Microgeneration also has a role to play in promoting energy diversity and alleviating concerns relating to security of supply, energy shortages and power cuts.

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Heat Generation Technologies

  • Solar thermal hot water
  • Ground source heat pumps
  • Air source heat pumps
  • Biomass

Electricity Generation Technologies

  • Solar PV (photovoltaics)
  • Wind turbines
  • Small hydro

Microgeneration should be individually tailored solutions for each one of the electricity and heat generation technologies listed above.

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Microgeneration technologies explained

Heat

Power

In March 2006, the UK government launched its microgeneration strategy. Entitled Our Energy Challenge, Power from the people, it set out to the case for microgeneration.

Microgeneration Strategy

"It is clear that microgeneration has a key role to play in meeting our future energy needs in a way that is sustainable, reliable and affordable for all. Furthermore the visible and personal nature of many microgeneration technologies can also enhance the individual's interest in, and understanding of, energy consumption more generally. Its use in schools can create an enhanced underlying understanding of energy issues and climate change amongst future generations of consumers, helping to influence future behaviour patterns." Our Energy Challenge, Power from the people: Dti 2006