A £2.3m Low Carbon Market Development Programme has been launched by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) to boost renewable energy technologies in the North West of England.
Delivered by Envirolink Northwest, the investment is aimed at helping businesses overcome barriers in the adoption of renewable energy generation. These include poor public perception of renewable-energy technologies, planning restrictions, difficulties in financing projects and issues with connection to the electricity network.
The programme will be funded with £1m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and £1.3m from NWDA. The organisations will run the programme for three years, providing technical support to stakeholders in the renewable energy market with regards to planning, finance and network connection.
They will also provide advocacy and support services for renewable technologies that have been highlighted as having significant opportunities for the region. These include onshore and offshore wind, microgeneration and energy from waste.
The programme is expected to increase the market for renewable energy and stimulate the growth of the renewable energy sector in the North West. The NWDA expects the programme to create 43 jobs, support 185 business, encourage £1.8m in private-sector investment and save two million tonnes of CO2 over three years.
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 North West to show leadership in delivering a low-carbon economy. The programme coincides with a recent report that reveals the North West 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 per cent less emissions by 2020 and 80 per cent less by 2050 nationally.’
Nick Storer, chief executive of Envirolink Northwest, added: ‘This project will give a real boost to the North West’s dominance of the deployment of Renewable Energy generation technologies in England.
‘This will not only enable the North West to play its part in delivering the government’s Renewable Energy Strategy, but will also enable its energy and environmental, and wider manufacturing industry to capitalise on this important market.’