Government backing to create more renewable energy

New rules could save energy consumers between £17bn-£50bn.

Kier operatives install solar panels

Consumers in the UK could save billions of pounds due to major changes to the energy sector.

The changes would affect the way electricity is made, used and stored.

New rules, introduced by former communities secretary, Greg Clark, will make it easier for people to generate their own power with solar panels, store batteries and sell it to the National Grid.

Energy regulator Ofgem says the plans could save up to £50bn for consumers, with plans coming into effect next year.

It will reduce costs for someone who allows their washing machine to be turned on by the internet to maximise use of cheap solar power on a sunny afternoon.

And it will even support people who agree to have their freezers switched off for a few minutes to smooth demand at peak times.

It will also benefit a business that allows its air-conditioning to be turned down briefly to help balance a spell of peak energy demand on the National Grid.

Among the first to gain from the rule changes will be people with solar panels and battery storage. At the moment they are charged tariffs when they import electricity into their home or export it back to the grid.

The government has realised this rule must change because it deters people from using power more flexibly in a way that will benefit everyone.

Greg Clark, business secretary, said of the plans: “It will allow homes and businesses to better manage their electricity use and open up the possibility of flexible energy tariffs to reduce bills and increase efficiency of the energy system.”