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South West MPs urged to back renewables manifesto

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: May 11, 2013

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Ambitious plans to develop a world-leading renewable energy industry in the Westcountry – employing 34,000 people by the end of the decade – have been set out in a new document.

Industry experts Regen SW has written to all South West MPs inviting them to back the South West Renewable Energy Manifesto.

It already has the support of Local Enterprise Partnerships from the West of England, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Dorset, and the Heart of South West and sets out eight key commitments to put sustainable energy at the centre of the region's economic future.

Merlin Hyman, chief executive of Regen SW, said: "The South West Renewable Energy Manifesto is a unique commitment from industry, Local Enterprise Partnerships and MPs to build a world-leading sector employing 34,000 people by the end of this decade.

"The South West played a leading role in the industrial revolution. The first steam engine was built in Dartmouth by Thomas Newcomen, a local ironmonger – we now have the potential again to be a leader in new energy technologies that are changing the world."

The region has a history of being at the forefront of renewable energy development with the country's first commercial wind farm being installed near Delabole, North Cornwall, more than 20 years ago.

Latterly, the Wave Hub has been installed off the Cornish coast to test fledgling wave energy devices while the National Solar Centre was opened in St Austell last month.

However, research by Regen shows while there has been rapid growth in renewable energy generation over the past 12 months, the region is still not on track to hit current Government targets of 15% by 2020.

The manifesto highlights eight specific commitments to drive forward the industry and deliver high-value jobs including investment in the national and local grid, to roll out new 'smart' technology and putting communities at the heart of new energy developments.

The document is being sponsored by St Austell and Newquay Lib Dem MP Stephen Gilbert and Exeter's Labour MP Ben Bradshaw.

It is being officially launched at the House of Commons on June 4.

"We are blessed in the Westcountry to be uniquely rich in potential renewable energy including wind, wave, tidal, solar and thermal power," Mr Bradshaw said. "It is vital we develop and expand these energy sources as a matter of urgency if we're to keep the lights on, energy costs down and meet our climate change commitments.

"The Westcountry has the potential to be world-leading in renewables – creating thousands of secure, well-paid jobs – but we must have consistent and strong political leadership from Government."

The South West Renewable Energy Manifesto document can be viewed online at http://goo.gl/57WwL

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  • letigre  |  May 14 2013, 3:04PM

    34,000 jobs - doing what exactly? http://tinyurl.com/cbnkshg

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  • Pentewan Sands Holiday Park  |  May 14 2013, 11:12AM

    "34,000 jobs"? - don't believe this for a second. So far I've seen German & Czech work crews installing Chinese-made solar panels & windmills, mostly for German or US-based parent companies. Meanwhile in the real world fuel bills continue to soar, CO2 levels continue to rise, & we continue to devastate our one real asset - the landscape - to the detriment of our tourism industry. As far as I can tell the only people who support the drive for large-scale renewables are those whose snouts are in the subsidies trough.

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  • bullocks400  |  May 11 2013, 7:49PM

    Another self interest group lobbying for it's own future and high salaries. 34,000 secure well paid jobs within the next 7 years? Not even pretending to be in the real world. No surprise Mr Bradshaw has a part in this fantasy.

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