Malcolm Wicks outlines his vision today for micro wind turbines, solar panels and other microgeneration technologies at the launch of the Energy Futures Lab at Imperial College in London. He will announce a �30 million funding package over three years for the Low Carbon Building Programme, (LCBP), and his determination to put schools at the forefront of transforming our skylines.

He will also be bringing forward £1.5million now to help the DTI's Clear Skies and the Major Photovoltaic Development programmes meet increased demand until the LCBP replaces these programmes early in the next financial year. The announcements will be made alongside details of the latest round of successful grant applications under the solar scheme.

Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts and Bugle Village Hall in Cornwall are just two of the 15 projects that will be receiving a total of £1.09 million from existing money for their solar schemes.

He said: "The installation of microgeneration products such as micro-turbines, solar panels and air source heat pumps are an excellent way for individuals, communities and businesses to make their own contribution to tackling climate change. As these become more widespread they can help to teach children and future generations about the benefits of renewable energy and the new to use our resources more responsibly.

"The Low Carbon Building Programme will be designed to take a holistic approach to reducing carbon emissions from buildings by combining innovative combinations of micro-renewable technologies and energy efficiency measures. As well as continuing to fund single installations, the programmes will fund large-scale developments in the public and private sectors. Potential beneficiaries could include schools, leisure centres or even remote villages that are not connected to the grid."

Ian Marchant, Chief Executive, SSE commented on the funding: “The energy supply sector fully recognises the vital importance of increasing energy efficiency and the increased use of more sustainable ways of powering and heating homes and workplaces. There is significant appetite for taking up the challenges that lower carbon buildings represent and this additional funding is another useful step in the right direction.”

The grant programme is just one part of the Government's strategy to promote microgeneration, which aims to remove those barriers currently hindering the development of a sustainable market for these products. Malcolm Wicks will go on to say: "I am also calling on the major players in the energy field to work with my department in order to expand the microgeneration sector, with a particular emphasis on renewable energy technology on school buildings. We have already aided 184 schools with their projects and I will be having further discussions with companies such as Shell, EDF Energy, SSE and Scottish Power, all of whom have expressed support, so that we can examine ways of working together to achieve our aims."

Vincent de Rivaz, Chief Executive of EDF Energy has given his backing for the Minister's plans: "We are delighted to support this initiative and look forward to working with the Minister and his team to help ensure its success. There is no silver bullet for dealing with the challenge posed by climate change. Energy efficiency will be vital and even though EDF Energy is a leader in this field I am convinced there is a great deal more to be done to encourage the changes in behaviour which can really make a difference to energy consumption.

"A diverse range of generation types will be another key part of the answer and within this there is certainly a role for microgeneration and for CHP schemes where they can be used at maximum efficiency. In fact EDF Energy operates the CHP unit which is installed at Imperial College and we already make some investment in microgeneration through our Green Fund."

The microgeneration industry is also responding positively to the Government's focus on the sector. "We welcome the DTI's recognition of the need for continuity of support." said Philip Wolfe, Chief Executive of the Renewable Power Association, referring to the Minister's recent confirmation of an April target date for the start of the LCBP. "Mass market renewables provide an important new dimension to the sustainable energy mix and the best way of engaging the public in this issue".