Cumbria Vision, the precursor body to Britain’s Energy Coast, published a report in 2009 called “The Scope for Renewable Energy in Cumbria”. This envisioned the creation of up to 5,000 jobs by 2020 and almost 8,000 by 2050 from developing renewable energy .
The report highlighted the fact that Cumbria is a national centre of expertise in small-scale hydro-power and has local enterprises able to build and maintain small-scale wind energy installations, solar systems and heat pumps. The county also has major potential for anaerobic digestion of farm and food wastes and for wood-burning boilers, supplied by the large tracts of woodland that are currently scarcely managed or not managed at all. The Study concludes that by 2020 the county could be producing enough renewable energy to match the demand of its population. By 2050 it should be a significant exporter of renewable energy. And this can be achieved without damaging Cumbria’s magnificent landscapes or harming its important tourist industry.
This was followed in August 2011 by a report by sustainable economic and social development consultants, SQW, for Cumbrian local authorities called “Cumbria Renewable Energy and Capacity Deployment Study” . This study involved a detailed assessment of the resources available for generating renewable energy by 2030.
The SQW assessment shows a total potential onshore resource of 4,542MW by 2030, (See Table 2) of which commercial onshore wind provides the largest proportion at 62% followed by microgeneration at 30% (which in this case means solar photovoltaics, solar water heating and ground, air and water-source heat pumps.) SQW then goes on to look at the realistically deployable capacity by 2030. Firstly it uses a reduced ceiling of 1,623MW for commercial onshore wind to take into account the landscape’s capacity. Taking this and other constraints into account SQW concludes that Cumbria has a deployable onshore renewable energy resource of 606MW by 2030 – which is comparable with the sort of numbers given in the Cumbria Vision report for onshore renewables in 2050. This capacity has the potential to generate around 1,861GWh of energy compared with an estimated energy demand of 18,000GWh in 2007 and between 14,000 and 18,000GWh in 2030.
|Table 1. “The Scope for Renewable Energy” Cumbria Vision 2009|
|Offshore Wind||240||96||2000||720||2400 – 3500||384 – 560|
|Tidal||0||0||150||135||250 – 300||100 – 120|
|Wave||0||0||0 – 25||0 – 2||0 – 500||0 – 20|
|Solar (PV and thermal)||<1||25||20||594||40 – 100||528 – 1320|
|Geothermal (includes GSHP & ASHP)||0.5||200||5||1800||50 – 520||2000 – 4160|
|Landfill / Sewage||10||190||25||427||25||190|
|Wood||10||200||10 – 40||180 – 720||20 – 60||160 – 480|
|Totals||381.5||960||2486 – 2541||4616 – 5158||3245 – 5465||4262 – 7550|
|Table 2: Potential Technical Renewable Energy Resource Capacity in Cumbria by 2030 (SQW Report)|
SQW also concludes that Cumbria will need to significantly increase its currently level of renewable deployment (295MW) if it is to reach 606MW by 2030. It says microgeneration represents an exciting opportunity in terms of jobs and economic development; and continued deployment of commercial wind is likely to be required.
This website aims to develop a new sustainable energy plan for Cumbria drawing not only on some of this earlier work done by Cumbria Vision, and SQW, but also lots of other sources. It casts the net more widely than just energy, to set out not just a list of alternative options to a nuclear future for Cumbria, but a better alternative – one that doesn’t involve producing yet more nuclear waste, which after sixty years of nuclear development the industry still doesn’t know what to do with. It is an alternative future which is better at tackling climate change; better at creating jobs and better at tackling fuel poverty.