Businesses in England’s Northwest have been given a further boost with £2.3 million approved for the Low Carbon Market Development Programme.
As the region at the forefront of the UK’s shift to low carbon and with more renewable energy sites than any other part of the country, the programme will be funded with £1 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and £1.3 million from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA).
The programme, delivered by Envirolink Northwest, aims to overcome barriers to the adoption of renewable energy generation across the Northwest.
This will increase the region’s market for renewable energy technologies and act as a stimulus to grow the renewable energy sector within the region; grow indigenous renewable businesses, diversify engineering and other businesses into the renewable energy market and attract inward investment into the sector within the region.
The project will create 43 jobs, assist 324 businesses, lever £1.8 million in private and public sector investment and save two million tonnes of C02 over three years.
Despite the huge market opportunities created by government legislation and support for low carbon technologies, there are many barriers to the adoption and implementation of renewable energy generation projects. This includes poor public perception of many renewable energy technologies, including wind turbines and energy from waste technologies, planning difficulties, difficulties in financing projects and issues with connection to the electricity network.
With ERDF and NWDA funding the programme will run for three years, providing intensive support to all stakeholders in the renewable energy market on a sub-regional basis, providing dedicated technical support across the region with regard to planning, finance and network connection.
Overall, the programme will overcome the barriers to market entry; increase the market for renewable energy and stimulate the growth of the renewable energy sector within the Northwest.
The programme will provide advocacy and support services for renewable technologies that have been identified as having substantial opportunities in the Northwest, in particular onshore / offshore wind; microgeneration and small scale renewables and energy from waste.
Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive at the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) said: “The Low Carbon Market Development Programme represents a further opportunity for England’s Northwest to show leadership in delivering a low carbon economy. The programme coincides with a recent report that reveals England’s Northwest is at the forefront of the UK’s shift to low carbon, with 140 sites generating renewable electricity – more than any other English region.
“As lead Regional Development Agency for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the NWDA will play a key role in national strategies to hit carbon targets that demand 34% less emissions by 2020 and 80% less by 2050 nationally.”
Nick Storer, Chief Executive of Envirolink Northwest said: “This project will give a real boost to the Northwest’s dominance of the deployment of Renewable Energy generation technologies in England. This will not only enable the Northwest to play its part in delivering the Government’s Renewable Energy Strategy but will also enable the Northwest’s energy and environmental and wider manufacturing industry to capitalise on this important market.”
The ERDF programme is backed by the Programme Monitoring Committee (PMC) to monitor, oversee and advise on the delivery of the programme and provide invaluable support to the development of the new fund.
Tony Dean, Regional Director at the Environment Agency and PMC Member said: “We welcome this investment in the Low Carbon Market Development Programme and the contribution that it will make stimulating environmentally sustainable enterprise, employment and innovation in the NW.”