Renewable Energy Study

Wood Boiler

The Cumbria Renewable Energy Capacity and Deployment Study provides information on the potential renewable energy resources that could be harnessed across the County.  It will be used to help develop policy and make future planning decisions through the Local Development Frameworks. These are being produced by the district councils and national park authorities.  The County Council could also use it to help develop a county wide Energy Policy.

The UK Renewable Energy Strategy, July 2009, sets out the Government's path for securing 15% of the Country's energy from renewable sources by 2020.  Local planning authorities need to help deliver this target through the planning system and demonstrate how they are planning for a low carbon future in a changing climate.  This study will help do this.

 What does the study show?

The study sets out the opportunities and constraints to delivering renewable energy in Cumbria.   It indicates the suitability of a range of technologies, taking into account the varied environmental, social and economic issues that relate to their installation and operation. It shows that, potentially, we could more than double the amount of renewable energy we are currently generating in Cumbria; increasing it from 295MW to 606MW.

What type of renewable energy technologies does it include?

The study focuses on onshore technologies and resources that can generate electricity and heat including:

  • Converting animal and food waste and silage to electricity via anaerobic digestion

  • Converting daylight to electricity using solar photovoltaics

  • Generating hot water from the sun using solar panels

  • Growing energy crops to generate electricity

  • Harnessing the energy from rivers and streams to generate hydro electricity

  • Harnessing the geothermal energy found underground

  • Managing woodlands to provide wood fuel for electricity and heating

  • Using heat pumps to harness the warmth found in the ground, water and the air 

  • Using methane and other gases from landfill sites to generate electricity

  • Utilizing the wind's energy through different sized wind turbines

The Study identifies different ways that renewable energy could be deployed in the future, including a renewable technology mix that relies much more on micro-generation and biomass and much less on commercial scale wind.  

How will the study be used?

The districts and national park authorities will use to the study to help develop policies to support renewable energy production in their Local Development Frameworks. Consideration will be given to the different renewable technology mixes that could be supported and the actions that might be needed to help deliver them. Consideration will also be given to developing targets to work towards.  The views of people living in Cumbria will be sought through the Local Development Framework consultation process.  It will also be used to help make decisions on planning applications. 

The study was funded through the North West Improvement and Efficiency Partnership. This supports projects and programmes that will help reduce carbon emissions.