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New renewable energy scheme is major boost to Nottingham's green economy
A NEW domestic renewable energy scheme is being hailed as a major boost to Nottingham’s growing low-carbon and green technology business sector.
The national Feed-in Tariff scheme (FiTs), which started this month, will incentivise homeowners to install solar panels and wind turbines by guaranteeing generous payments for every unit of green electricity they produce – and for any excess electricity they sell to the National Grid.
With some new homes in Nottingham already being fitted with solar panels as standard, the scheme is expected to be the ‘tipping point’ in the adoption of renewable energy and help create more jobs in Nottingham’s burgeoning renewable energy and low carbon technology sector.
Coun Alan Clark, Portfolio Holder for Neighourbood Regeneration at Nottingham City Council, has welcomed the introduction of FiTs, saying that the scheme should help create employment and boost skills in areas such as renewable energy installation and maintenance as more homeowners add solar or wind systems to their properties.
“The Feed-in Tariffs scheme should help Nottingham build on what is already a growth area,” he said. “We are already gaining a reputation as one of the UK’s leading centres for innovation and expertise in ‘green-tech’, with more and more companies in the private sector producing new technologies and ideas that respond to the huge challenge of climate change.
“These commercial efforts are supported by the city council, through our help in providing land for the development of science parks, and own climate change and carbon reduction policies. Add to these the research and innovation of our two great universities, Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham, and you have a winning combination that is creating a real growth area in the low-carbon economy. In the long term, we may even begin exporting our expertise elsewhere.”
In preparation for what is expected to be a huge demand to learn skills for the low-carbon economy, FE colleges in the city and county are already beginning to provide training and courses in renewable energy installation and maintenance.
A partnership between regional FE colleges and the East Midland Development Agency, the Skills for a Low Carbon Economy FE Partnership Group, involves Castle College Nottingham and South Nottingham College among others.
In Nottingham, a Green-Tech Working Group has also been set up which brings together major business and development figures of the city’s low carbon economy. This is chaired by Neil Horsley, of Nottingham Science City.
Nottingham’s green credentials were staked out a decade ago when Nottingham City Council created the ‘Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change’, which has now been signed by more than 90% of English councils. A new energy strategy for Nottingham, containing ambitious targets for use of renewable energy, is expected to be published by the Nottingham Energy Partnership this summer.
Nottingham’s expertise in technology is also highlighted by its status as one of England’s six Science Cities, and this organisation has been helping to track and promote the city’s green-tech business sector.
Ten low-carbon businesses were profiled in a Nottingham Science City magazine called Green-Tech, published last September, and several of the companies based in the city have since gone on to further success with new contracts and growth. These include RomaxWIND, based on the city council’s Science and Technology Park, and LEDinLight and 4Energy, both based on the adjacent No.1 Nottingham Science Park, a sustainable business park built by public/private regeneration specialists Blueprint.
Nottingham Science City has also held a popular series of public debates on renewable energy and climate change issues at No.1 Nottingham Science Park, the next of which, on June 8, will focus on Feed-in Tariffs.
Income from the scheme will soon be a reality for people who buy homes in the new Green Street housing development next to the Victoria Embankment in The Meadows. All 38 of the homes, also built by developers Blueprint, have roof solar panels fitted as standard and should save homeowners hundreds of pounds on their bills.* Nottingham City Council has shown its support for the Green Street development by providing funds enabling buyers to obtain interest free loans for up to 30% of the sale price.
Coun Clark, who opened the scheme in a sod-turning ceremony in January, said: “Green Street in The Meadows is a great example of how stylish and sustainable homes can be built in the inner city and at a price that makes them attractive to people of all backgrounds. They also show how, through FiTs, renewable energy can actually help people save money and reduce their carbon footprint. I hope that many more schemes like this will be built in Nottingham. They help the city become greener overall and should boost our skills base in renewable energy. ”
John Long, sales and marketing director at Blueprint, said: “Feed-in Tariffs will undoubtedly prove to be a tipping point in the take-up of domestic renewable energy in the UK. This is because the scheme finally provides decent financial incentives for homeowners to generate their own green energy.”
*Blueprint estimates that Feed-in Tariff payments means that most Green Street residents’ average monthly energy bills will be £47, compared to £83 in a standard modern British home and £118 in an unimproved 1960s house. www.ourgreenstreet.co.uk
For further information contact Coun Alan Clark on 0115 915 5235 or Neil Horsley, of Nottingham Science City, on 0115 934 9587
Notes for Editors:
Full details on Feed-in Tariffs, including payment levels, can be seen at the Energy Saving Trust’s website (www.energysavingtrust.org.uk)
Nottingham Science City (www.science-city.co.uk) promotes and markets Nottingham’s strengths as a major city of science research, enterprise and innovation. Around one in five jobs in Greater Nottingham are already connected to science and the sector is expected to grow by 15%, creating nearly 20,000 jobs, over ten years.
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