Thursday, 12 March 2009

Waterways provide renewable energy - (11/03)

British Waterways has today announced an agreement with The Small Hydro Company Ltd to generate 210,000 mega watt hours of renewable energy per annum using the public corporation’s 2,200 mile waterway network.
The initiative will:
- invest around c.£120 million of private capital over the next three years; - develop approximately 25 small-scale hydro electricity schemes generating enough power for c.40,000 homes; - create 150 construction jobs; - save an annual 110,000 tonnes of CO2.
Backed by Climate Change Capital’s Ventus Fund, the process of gaining consents for the first five hydro schemes alongside river weirs will begin later this month. The proposals will enhance waterway biodiversity as well as providing improved flood mitigation for local communities.
The partnership with The Small Hydro Company follows British Waterways’ announcement in October 2008, of an agreement with Partnerships for Renewables to bring forward wind turbines on canal-side land over the next five years – with annual capacity to generate 219,000 mega watt hours of renewable energy. Income that British Waterways generates from both initiatives will be reinvested towards maintaining the nation’s historic waterways.
Income re-invested into historic waterways
Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband MP said: "By committing to build small hydro power stations and wind turbines, British Waterways is playing an important role in generating renewable energy from the UK’s natural resources. This will help cut carbon emissions and further secure energy supplies. We want even more homes, communities, businesses and public sector organisations to take action and play their part in tackling climate change. The Renewables Obligation already supports renewable electricity generation and from 2010 we'll be introducing a feed-in tariff which will reward projects like this with guaranteed cash payments."

Hilary Benn, Environment Secretary said: "Britain’s waterways were the arteries of our economy, providing transport and power. This scheme shows how with ingenuity and innovation they can once again deliver real economic, social, and environmental benefits, especially in tackling and adapting to climate change."
"Economic, social and environmental benefits"
The Small Hydro Company will now start a programme of community engagement alongside the process of seeking the necessary environmental and planning consents, with the aim of having the first schemes up and running in 2010 to help meet the government’s 2010 hydro renewable targets.

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