SW clean energy hits 1GW mark

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A report launched today by independent renewable energy expert Regen SW reveals that the total capacity of renewable electricity in the south west has grown by almost 50% in the past 12 months.

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Regen reported installed capacity up from 714MW in 2012 to more than 1 GW now – and that the region now generates 7.3% of its electricity from renewable sources.

301MW of this is generated in Devon, with Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly just behind on 293MW.

The majority of renewable energy, says the South West Renewable Energy Progress Report, comes from solar PV, accounting for 251MW, with biomass providing 39MW, and heat pumps 20MW. Wind trubines provide just 5.5MW.

Despite this strong growth, the south west is not on track to meet the Government target of deriving 15% of our energy from renewable sources by 2020, and risks, says Regen SW, missing out on a huge economic opportunity to build a world-leading renewables industry.

Chief executive Merlin Hyman said: “This year’s progress report is encouraging. However, it should be just the start. If we continue at our current pace we will finish a long way off our 2020 target.

“This means we’ll be missing out the chance to create 34,000 high-value new jobs in the sector, the opportunity to become less reliant on uncertain oversees supplies of fossil fuels, and the opportunity of using our local renewable energy resources to generate income and fuel security for local communities.”

The renewable energy sector is featured in the July/Aug issue of Business Cornwall magazine. To subscribe to our new iPad app, click here.