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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Bright future for renewables

THE Energy Coast is not all about nuclear new build and wind power.

There’s the potential for areas like wave and tidal power, hydroelectric schemes, biomass power using wood chippings, and even poopower!

All are being looked out in the county as are electric vehicles, to help lessen the carbon overload on the climate but keep the lights on.

Yet another area that is seen as having big potential in energy saving is solid state LED lighting which is poised to replace more energy hungry traditional filament lights in many areas.

Furness has a big cluster of LED firms employing hundreds of people. Furness Enterprise is now working with the firms to mount a major campaign to get public authorities to use more LED lights in buildings and streets.

A power plant fuelled by farm slurry which is planned for West Cumbria could make up to £1.2m a year.

Ten Cumbrian farmers plan to join a scheme to create an ‘anaerobic digester’ to make power from slurry on a farm at Silloth.

The plan is being driven by Community Renewable Energy (CoRE) North West, a community enterprise group based in
Workington.

It would produce enough renewable energy to power 2,000 homes and process 40,000 tonnes of slurry a year.
In a UK first, the region’s water company United Utilities has teamed up with National Grid to convert a by-product of the wastewater treatment process using an anaerobic digester, into gas for injection into the local gas pipeline network and fuel for a fleet of sludge tanker trucks.

Caroline Ashton, United Utilities biofuels manager, said: “The people of Manchester will soon be using ‘poopower’ to heat their homes. If this trial is a success it could be rolled out around the region.”

The resulting biomethane is a renewable fuel with similar properties to natural gas.

Several sites in Cumbria such as Heron Corn Mill on the banks of the river Bela in Beetham in the South Cumbria, are adopting hydro-electric power schemes with up to 50 proposed schemes in the pipeline, while in Eskdale a pilot project is using sustainable biomass for heating buildings including atyouth hostel and a school with a new Eco boiler which burns wood chippings from nearby Miterdale Forest.

West Cumbria Wood Products Ltd working with the Youth Hostels Association, raised the money to fund the project and installed the system.

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