New guidelines published today will help regional authorities assess the potential for renewable and low-carbon energy in their area.
The guidelines, published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) today will help English regions set themselves ambitious renewable targets in their new Regional Strategies, in line with the UK's overall target for 15% renewable energy by 2020.
The document provides regional authorities with guidance on how to calculate the potential their areas have for renewables . This might include what the wind speeds are in different areas, how many houses there are with roof space - and what constraints they should then apply.
The guidance provides detail on how to assess potential for large and small scale onshore wind, biomass, hydro power and solar energy.
Energy Minister Lord Hunt said:
"Our target for renewables is ambitious and we want to see that ambition reflected at regional and local levels. We must make the move to low carbon energy supplies and everyone needs to be involved in that. Nationally we've nearly tripled renewable electricity since 2002 but more needs to be done.
"Each region in England already has its own renewable energy target. These new guidelines will help to ensure that in reviewing these targets, each is setting a target based on similar methods and assumptions and that the targets are in line with the UK's overall renewable ambition."
Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) together with new local leader's boards will be responsible for delivering ambitious renewable energy targets outlined in their regional strategies.
The methodology will ensure a more strategic approach to identifying, in general terms and at an early stage, which are likely to be the most appropriate areas for renewable energy projects.
Developers will be able use this information when working up project proposals.
Notes to Editors
The report, Renewable and low-carbon energy capacity methodology, can be found at: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/what_we_do/uk_supply/energy_mix/renewable/ored/ored.aspx
Regional Strategies will be commenced on 1 April 2010 under Part 5 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act. The single Regional Strategy will replace existing Regional Spatial Strategies and Regional Economic Strategies. The purpose of the Strategy is to set out a long term (15-20 year timeframe) strategic, spatial and integrated framework for the regions which promotes sustainable economic growth, tackles challenges posed by climate change and contributes to sustainable development. The Strategy will be expected to contain ambitious targets for renewable and some forms of low-carbon energy, and must be approved by the Secretary of State CLG. Further information can be found at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/regionalstrategiesresponses
The nine RDAs are: Advantage West Midlands, East of England Development Agency, East Midlands Development Agency, London Development Agency (this methodology does not cover London which has a different planning regime. However London proposes to use the methodology to review its evidence base for the London Plan) , Northwest Regional Development Agency, One NorthEast, South East England Development Agency, South West of England Regional Development Agency and Yorkshire Forward.
All English regions have existing renewable energy targets set out in their Regional Spatial Strategies. However these will need to be reviewed as part of the development of the single Regional Strategy which will replace the existing Regional Spatial Strategy and Regional Economic Strategy.
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