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Saturday 16 December 2017
16 December 2017 - NEWS UPDATE
Renewable Energy

Renewable energy generation jumps by more than a third in South West

Renewable electricity in the South West has surged by 37 per cent in the past year –enough to now power over a quarter of the region’s homes.

solar-panels



But Regen SW, author of the report and South West renewable energy expert, said the rapid growth was still not enough for the region to reach the Government’s target of 15 per cent of total energy from renewable sources by 2020.
 
Green electricity capacity in the South West has reached nearly 1.2 gigawatt with more than eight per cent of the total electricity generated in the region now coming from renewable sources, according to the the 'South West Renewable Energy Progress Report', published yesterday.
 
Devon is leading the charge with more than 380 megawatts (MW) of installed renewable electricity and heat capacity, followed by Cornwall with around 374 MW and Somerset with just under 200 MW. Gloucestershire is the least green, with just over 100 MW.
 
In terms of technologies, solar PV is the most widely deployed across the region with 270 MW of capacity followed by biomass (68 MW) and onshore wind (23 MW).
 
Small-scale renewable energy incentives appear to be a key driver for the region's renewable energy deployment. The South West currently lays claim to 21 per cent of the projects supported by the Feed-in Tariff –more than any other region in the UK – while 14 per cent of Renewable Heat Incentive projects are also to be found in the South West, second only to Scotland.
 
Merlin Hyman, chief executive of Regen SW, described the report as "encouraging, but said it should be "just the start.
 
"With 70 per cent of all investment in energy globally predicted to be in renewables, our success in this market is critical," he said.
 
In 2012 there were a reported 10,000 jobs in the South West in the renewable energy sector and projected growth at the current rate of improvement is set to deliver 16,000 extra jobs by 2020. This will come from tackling local barriers, including "commercial deployment of new technologies like offshore wind, wave and tidal energy" and supporting "local businesses to become leaders in the growing international renewables sector", the report says.
 
"By meeting our renewables targets we could create 34,000 high-value jobs, become less reliant on uncertain oversees supplied fossil fuels, and use our local renewable energy resources to generate income and fuel security for local communities," Hyman said.
 
But he said that the region had to do more to help local communities and support local companies if it was to reach its renewable energy targets.
 
"A key conclusion of our analysis is that we need to take more responsibility locally for making the most of the excellent renewable energy resources we have," he said.
 
While key areas of growth identified in the report are solar PV, biomass and onshore wind, Hyman said offshore wind offered the best opportunity for growth in the future.
 
"The deployment of offshore wind off the Dorset coast has the potential to make the largest contribution to the amount of renewable energy we generate, wave and tidal energy have an exciting future," he said.
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