Waterside renewables

British Waterways has announced plans to generate renewable energy at canal and riverside locations across the UK.



Working with Partnerships for Renewables, British Waterways is the first public corporation to explore the opportunities for wind turbines and small-scale hydro power schemes.



Its proposals, which could provide annual savings in excess of 100,000 tonnes of CO2, would generate enough power for 45,000 homes – the equivalent to the canalside town of Blackburn.



The proposals are based on the assumption that 50 wind turbines could be built across the UK over the next five years generating 100MW of renewable electricity. Income that British Waterways will generate from the turbines will be reinvested into maintaining the nation’s historic waterways.



Robin Evans, chief executive of British Waterways, said: ‘This is a real example of a public organisation using its land in innovative ways to generate additional income and work towards a more sustainable future. We look after 2,200 miles of canals and rivers throughout the UK and, while protecting their heritage, are proactively looking at how we can use this resource to make a contribution towards the fight against climate change.



‘We believe that our waterside land could host around 100MW of renewable energy capacity – some 219,000MWh. If we successfully develop this resource it would mean that the nation’s canal network would generate 10-times more electricity than it consumes.’



Partnerships for Renewables, with the backing of HSBC’s Environmental Infrastructure Fund, will be covering the costs of the development process and using its in-house expertise to ensure that only environmentally appropriate sites are developed.


Stephen Ainger, chief executive of Partnerships for Renewables, said: ‘When Partnerships for Renewables was set up by the Carbon Trust it was in the knowledge that the public sector owned more than 10 per cent of the land in the UK, but was having real difficulty translating this resource into renewable energy generation. We believe that this announcement marks the beginning of a trend in the public sector to embrace the potential of renewable energy generation and it is great to see that British Waterways has demonstrated the vision to become a torch bearer for others to follow.’