Renewable energy schemes are one of the best ways for Winchester District to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, finds a new Government-funded report commissioned by Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC).

Whatever its political persuasion, the British Government is committed and legally bound to cut the nation’s emissions of the greenhouse gases which create climate change by 80 per cent by 2050. Because the effect of emissions accumulates, the earlier we can make the cuts, the better for our environment. In line with the Government target, Winchester has set itself the target of cutting the District’s emissions by 30 percent over the 11 years from 2004 to 2015. Now, almost two-thirds of the way through, we have saved only 10 percent. We still need to cut our emissions of carbon dioxide (or the equivalent in other greenhouse gases, such as methane) by roughly 200 thousand tonnes to meet our 2015 target.

It is important for householders and businesses to cut down their energy use. But this alone will not meet the target. We need to supplement individual action with large renewable energy schemes.

WinACC commissioned energy consultants Ecoup Ltd to do a detailed professional study to show whether it is realistic to generate renewable energy locally, and to assess its impact on the carbon footprint of the district. The report  is available on WinACC’s website (http://www.winacc.org.uk/sites/winacc.org.uk/files/Winchester_Renewable_...). It found that there are many opportunities to create renewable energy from wind, the sun (photovoltaic) and in other ways such as anaerobic digestion of waste.  

Ernie Shelton, WinACC’s chair, said: “On reading the report, it is clear that renewable energy is important in meeting our target. WinACC wants to see much more renewable energy generation in Winchester District to help reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. So our starting point is to support proposals in principle, though we recognise that each scheme will have disadvantages as well as advantages.”

WinACC estimates that the proposals for a wind farm at Bullington Cross would displace emissions of about 32,000 tonnes and that turning waste into power through pyrolysis and anaerobic digestion at Micheldever sidings would displace emissions of about 50,000 tonnes. Together, this is 40% of our 2015 target – the same as taking 25,000 cars off the road.

WinACC's open meeting on Sat 9 June 2012 discussed renewable energy and community involvement. The climate group supporters recognised that some local people have concerns about the impact of the schemes, such as the noise or visual impact. The meeting concluded that all schemes need to benefit the wider community and we will always judge each proposal on its merits.

In partnership with the University of Winchester, WinACC is holding a conference on 17 July 2012 at 6.30-9.30 pm at Winchester University, West Downs Campus to present the findings of the report. There will be discussion on developer and community led renewable energy schemes and time for debate and discussion about the way forward locally. The conference is free and all are welcome; booking is essential at events@winacc.org.uk or call 01962 827083.

 

Notes to editors

For more information contact Chris Holloway, WinACCs Director, on 07779 283451 or Ernie Shelton, Chair, on 07769112670.

Winchester Action on Climate Change is a registered charity which aims to reduce the carbon footprint of Winchester District. The group was established in October 2007 and works with local communities in the district to support individuals and organisations to reduce their carbon footprint. The organisation is non political and is funded through grants and personal donations.

WinACC's work on large-scale renewable energy generation is led by its Renewable Energy Action Group. To find out more about the group, email renewables@winacc.org.uk.

Several developer-led proposals for renewable energy generation are being considered locally:

 

WinACC also has a briefing about funding for community-led schemes.