COUNCILS WELCOME PLANS TO EXPAND RENEWABLE ENERGY
Local authorities have welcomed plans to boost the use of renewable energy. Environment Secretary David Miliband has announced that 10 million pounds is to be put into moves designed to ensure that 500 megawatts of renewable energy projects are built or under development within the next five years by levering up to half a billion pounds in private sector investment.
The news has been welcomed by the Local Government Association, which says local authorities are in the frontline of the fight against climate change and that many of them are developing renewable energy projects.
Paul Bettison, Chairman of the LGA’s Environment Board, said, “This scheme will give local authorities new ways of delivering renewable energy by opening up funding from the private sector through the Carbon Trust’s partnership.” He added that under the scheme local people would continue to have a voice in the debate on renweable energy developments in their area. “Public consultation is an important part of the local planning system. Only councils, with their local knowledge, have the ability to make decisions which are suited to local circumstances,” Councillor Bettison said.
The new venture unveiled by Mr. Milliband, to be known as Partnership for Renewables will be run by the Carbon Trust. The idea is to use the private investment to develop renewable projects, mainly in the shape of three to five megawatt wind turbine projects. The government funding is intended to pave the way for the scheme to lead to the expansion of the public sector renewables market by supporting early stage project development and managing project work.
Mr Miliband said, “500 megawatts of renewable energy is enough to serve the houses of Exeter, Oxford, Norwich and Newcastle combined – that’s the equivalent of 250,000 houses at zero carbon cost to the environment.”
Carbon Trust Chief Executive Tom Delay said the Partnership for Renewables company would open up and fast track the development of a new market for renewable power and would offer more proof that there were business solutions to climate change.