Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has launched a report today, St George’s day, that concludes the South West can produce 100% of its energy needs from renewables – and have some left over to export.
The study shows that a renewable energy revolution could create 122, 000 jobs across the region and add over £4bn a year to the South West economy. Nuclear and fossil fuels are a distraction says the report:
“We must slay those particular dragons” said Molly Scott Cato, “they are having a chilling effect, freezing out investment for renewable generation, as well as taking up all the additional grid capacity.”
The report identifies that a mix of renewable energy resources could, in combination with energy saving, better-quality homes and improved methods of storage, address concerns about baseload and peaks in demand. The report identifies the potential to exploit as yet untapped resources, particularly tidal power, geothermal and offshore wind.
A panel of experts helped to launch the report in Bristol. On the panel were Andrew Clarke, of The Resilience Centre in Gloucestershire, who researched and wrote the report and two members of Bristol Green Party. Andrew Clarke, said:
“For too long authorities have been courted by the quick fix of large scale nuclear and dazzled by seemingly extravagant job creation figures. Let them now be dazzled by our local, safe and reliable renewables sector and the money it puts back into local people’s pockets in salaries and reducing energy imports. We all knew renewables can provide a better alternative for local economies and jobs, we just needed to demonstrate it.”
Tony Dyer, Green Party candidate for Bristol South, said:
“Investment in renewable energy for the South West not only offers the prospect of a safe and secure energy future but also offers the real potential to deliver full employment by creating 122,000 green jobs. This illustrates perfectly the Green Party’s alternative to austerity; supporting substantial investment in the renewable energy sector in order to rebuild and future proof our economy and energy supply.”
Darren Hall, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Bristol West, said:
“Bristol is already home to a number of fantastic community energy cooperatives, not only generating power, but also a healthy return on investment for the hundreds of local shareholders who have supported them. Reading this report alongside the Green Party’s pledge to help insulate homes across the UK, shows that we have the ability to dramatically reduce people’s bills, create warm homes, and help combat climate change. It seems to me that only those with vested interests in fossil fuels and nuclear would argue against this.”
The report says that political will is the single most constraining barrier to a renewable energy revolution in the South West along with a desperate need to upgrade the grid. Molly Scott Cato concluded:
“I am launching this report on St George’s Day because I am unashamedly patriotic towards the beautiful region I represent. I think it is right to use such a day to challenge the notion that people in Britain are being asked to pay twice the market price for nuclear electricity to subsidise French companies and Chinese financiers. You don’t have to be much of a nationalist to condemn such a policy as utterly unacceptable.
“The South West has the best renewable resources in Europe. We can give power back to the people in our region. What is broken in Britain is our political system. It is that above all else that stands in our way on the path to a renewable energy revolution, energy security and a prosperous green future.”