The Westcountry could see an explosion in the number of wind farms and other green energy schemes being developed if a new campaign to make the region the national leader in renewable power is successful.Wind farms and other types of renewable energy businesses are being actively encouraged to relocate to the Westcountry for the first time under a new campaign launched yesterday.
RegenSW, the renewable energy agency for South West England is launching the campaign to woo national and international green energy companies to the region by convincing them it is an ideal place to locate their next project.
It could see more windfarms and other types of energy production brought to the South West, enticed by an “unbeatable quality of life, a thriving renewable energy sector and strong natural resources”.
Matthew Spencer, chief executive of RegenSW said: “Climate change is driving a huge wave of new investment into solutions like renewable energy. The competition from other regions and countries for this investment is fierce but the South West is in a good position to attract renewable energy companies and projects.
“We’re using existing companies to tell the story about why South West England is a good place to do business and they make a compelling case. We’re confident that the region will attract new investment and new jobs from this rapidly growing business sector.”
The campaign launch is being marked by a brochure being sent to senior decision makers in renewable energy companies across the UK, and a new Internet microsite, www.energysw.com, which gives useful information about the region to potential investors. This will be followed by a programme of activities throughout the year.
The website bills the Westcountry as “a natural home for renewable energy.
“It has the best climate in the UK, and the highest levels of solar radiation,” it adds.
“There are strong areas of wind resources in all seven of our counties and research suggests the region has over 1,000 MW of untapped wind energy resource. The South West also has one of the largest woodland resources in the country, and the potential to generate substantial amounts of renewable energy from its wave and tidal resources.”
RegenSW said the South West already has “a thriving renewable energy industry”, with more than 200 businesses and organisations working in the sector employing more than 1,100 people and contributing £34 million to the economy.
RegenSW is pinning its campaign on several factors, including plans for the Wind Hub Project off Cornwall and ambitious targets for renewable electricity, heat and building integrated renewables which are included in the draft Regional Spatial Strategy by the South West Regional Assembly (SWRA).
That strategy lays down plans for between 509 and 611 MW of “installed generating capacity” in the region by 2010, with Devon and Cornwall penned in for the largest cut of that, at more than 250MW between them. By 2020 the SWRA wants 850MW, or 20 per cent of the region’s energy generation ability.
By David Wilcock
8 March 2007
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