Cumbria’s residents, community groups and businesses are being urged to have their say on plans to put the county at the forefront of the UK’s drive to tackle climate change.
The Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has launched a consultation on its Clean Energy Strategy, a plan to both generate green energy in the region, as well as cut carbon emissions from communities and in turn creating up to 13,000 new green jobs.
Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of Cumbria LEP, said: “Cumbria is already a powerhouse, punching well above its weight as a net exporter of renewable power to the nation.
“This strategy seeks to build on those green foundations, significantly expanding our clean energy infrastructure to create up to 13,000 new jobs and sustainable economic growth for our communities.
“From generating green hydrogen and becoming home to first-of-kind fusion technology, to capturing carbon and expanding offshore wind capacity, the strategy ensures Cumbria will stay at the forefront of the green economy.
“It demonstrates how Cumbria’s unique natural assets and industrial heritage will provide the platform to become a major contributor to the UK’s net zero future and levelling up ambitions, securing significant investment and new opportunities for the region.
“We encourage everyone to take a look and let us know their thoughts.”
The blueprint sets out how Cumbria will make a significant contribution to the UK’s low carbon energy future, building on its current status as a net exporter to the national grid.
It details how the region has the potential to deliver up to 9GW (gigawatts) of clean energy generation by 2040, the equivalent of around 9 million homes by today’s levels of electricity consumption.
Consultation on the strategy is open until Wednesday June 22 2022, with people encouraged to submit comments on the draft by:
• Completing an online survey: https://wh1.snapsurveys.com/s.asp?k=165391843491
• A videoconference consultation workshop for private, public, voluntary, community and social enterprise representatives is also being held on Monday June 20, with registration now open: https://www.thecumbrialep.co.uk/event/clep-clean-energy-strategy-consultation-workshop-june/
The Clean Energy Strategy details how Cumbria can build on both its natural assets and industrial heritage to achieve several key ambitions.
The goal is to deliver a power system of abundant, cheap renewables by:
• Advancing offshore wind: Cumbria’s specialist manufacturers supporting the expansion of offshore wind, already forming over 10% of the UK’s offshore capacity.
• Driving the growth of low-carbon hydrogen: Building on opportunities to generate green hydrogen using renewable electricity.
• Delivering new and advanced nuclear power: Including securing investment in new nuclear technology, including SMRs and the chance to site the first STEP fusion plant at Moorside.
• Investing in Carbon, Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS): Using the depleted Morecambe Bay Gas Fields to capture and store carbon emissions, helping decarbonise our industries.
Positioning Cumbria as a test bed for new technologies is also an ambition of the strategy, with investment in Research and Development underpinning energy innovation in the county.
It builds on Cumbria’s clean energy strengths to create new opportunities.
In 2020, Cumbria accounted for 4.3 percent of installed UK capacity and 5.6 percent of all UK electricity generation, well ahead of its share of the UK population (0.7 percent) and land mass (2.8 percent).
Low carbon energy is currently generated in the region from offshore and onshore wind, biomass, solar power, anaerobic digestion and hydro power.