Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne praises environmentally-friendly schemes in Bristol

SOME of Bristol's most innovative environmental projects were showcased during a visit by a top Government minister.

A car powered by gas from sewage and £9.4-million plans for a council- owned wind farm in Avonmouth were among the projects showed off to Energy and Climate Change minister Chris Huhne during his tour of the city yesterday.

Mr Huhne said: "Bristol's work to build new industries and jobs around green technologies offers us a glimpse into the future.

"As we face oil prices beyond $100 a barrel and the clearest evidence yet of the physical dangers to the UK of manmade climate change, low carbon is the sure-fire insurance policy with a big economic dividend.

"The city council's plans to build its own wind turbines will generate green electricity and new revenues for the local community."

The Liberal Democrat got behind the wheel of the Bio Bug, a modified Volkswagen Beetle which last year became the UK's first car to run on gas generated from sewage sludge.

Waste recycling company GENeco, which operates the sewage works in Kings Weston Lane, Avonmouth, creates the environmentally-friendly fuel by treating surplus gas.

Mr Huhne also took a look at a plot of council-owned land in Avonmouth which could soon become home to two large wind turbines. If the project takes off, the turbines could generate enough energy to earn the council £1.1 million a year supplying electricity to the National Grid.

Accompanied by city council leader Barbara Janke and councillors Gary Hopkins and Neil Harrison, the minister started his visit at Bristol Port, where he heard from the Bristol Port Company about its new deep-sea container port and plans for offshore renewable industries.

Mr Huhne added: "Bristol Port's plans around offshore wind offer a new future for an established facility. And the bio bug is British innovation at its best. These projects put Bristol ahead of many in seeing the economic and environmental payoffs of shifting to low carbon."

Bristol is one of nine areas receiving funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change for projects.

Some of the cash will be used to assess all city houses to see whether solar panels can be fitted to them.

In addition, all the city's 34,000 street lights will be updated to be more energy efficient, ten biomass boilers will be fitted in schools and leisure centres and council buildings and schools will also have solar panels installed.

Ms Janke said: "It is very good news that the Energy Secretary is seeing for himself some of our renewable energy projects around the city.

"It is welcome he is taking time to meet with businesses – we have one of the largest environmental technologies sectors in the UK and we want to do all we can to encourage growth and job creation."

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