Recent months have seen energy policy develop at breakneck speed. A raft of announcements on Electricity and Retail Market Reform, an early review of solar FITs (accompanied by a wider review of the scheme), and the Renewable Obligation Banding Review have come out alongside plans for the Renewable Heat Incentive, smart metering and the Green Deal.
Given the pace of this work, it's perhaps inevitable that some important issues have been sidelined, especially at time when government departments are facing cuts to their budgets and resources are stretched.
One such issue is the role of distributed energy in a reformed electricity market. Both coalition partners made a lot of noise when they were in opposition about the benefits of a more decentralised approach to energy generation. But when the biggest reforms of the electricity market for a quarter of a century were published last December, they'd gone strangely quiet on this subject.
If the UK is to source a significant proportion of our energy from renewables in the future then the structure of our market will need to be more decentralised. At the moment it's a market of two extremes, with microgeneration at one end and traditional large-scale generation at the other. Projects between those two levels exist in spite of the current market arrangements, not because of them.
From the energy supplier's point of view, a more decentralised approach will lead to a more diverse technology mix spread over a greater range of locations. It will also mean that communities and businesses will be able to harness more effectively the best natural resources in their area. If wind turbines aren't appropriate for a particular site, then solar or hydro might be.
The consumer's point of view is equally important. With the media's agenda dominated by deficit cutting and rising energy costs translating to an emphasis on the impact on FITs, the RO and CERT on bills, the energy sector must be more vocal in justifying the support that the Government policy gives to renewable energy.
Good Energy has shown how decentralised generation can help protect consumers from wholesale price volatility, by avoiding the kind of price hikes that we've seen from larger suppliers in recent months as they respond to global fossil fuel prices. Along with food, rising energy prices are the biggest upward pressures on inflation at the moment.
At the same time, encouraging more independent generation will help improve competition by making it easier for small suppliers to buy power, helping improve market liquidity. These are important benefits that often seem to get lost in the debate on electricity market reform.
So we were pleased to see Green Party leader Caroline Lucas initiating a parliamentary debate on decentralised energy. Supported by Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt and Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, Caroline successfully highlighted the important role decentralisation will have to play in the future, the range of issues that suppliers, generators and developers will have to deal with and how Government policy needs to be thinking about those issues now.
And having been silent in December's EMR proposals about the role of distributed energy beyond the current FIT, DECC Ministers Charles Hendry and Greg Barker seemed equally enthusiastic in their response to the potential for distributed energy.
So what next? We need a comprehensive strategy which pulls together all the strands: defining community benefit in schemes, developing models of best practice for developers, addressing the fact that the complexity of the EMR proposals could shut many independent and community generators out of the market and looking at how the Green Investment Bank can support those generators.
DECC also has a chance to address some of the issues that led to the recent FIT controversy and underpin some of the ongoing development issues over onshore wind, helping them to truly lay claim to their ambition to be the Greenest Government Ever.
The forthcoming EMR White Paper is an opportunity to give decentralised energy the recognition it needs and deserves in Government policy which must not be missed.