October 10, 2008

British Waterways to Generate Renewable Power at Watercourse Locations

The UK's inner watercourse navigation authority British Waterways has announced plans to generate renewable energy at canal and riverside locations across the country.

Working with Partnerships for Renewables, British Waterways is claimed to be the first public corporation to explore opportunities for wind turbines and small-scale hydro power schemes. The proposals, which could provide annual savings in excess of 100,000 tonnes of CO2, would generate enough power for 45,000 homes, equivalent to the consumption of the canalside town of Blackburn.

The proposals are based on a target of 50 wind turbines built across the UK over the next five years that will have the capacity to generate 100MW of renewable electricity. Income that British Waterways generates from the turbines is expected to be reinvested into maintaining the UK's historic waterways.

Partnerships for Renewables, with the backing of HSBC's Environmental Infrastructure Fund, will be covering the costs of the development process and using its in-house expertise to ensure that only environmentally appropriate sites are developed.

Robin Evans, British Waterways's CEO, said: "This is a real example of a public organization using its land in innovative ways to generate additional income and work towards a more sustainable future. We look after 2,200 miles of canals and rivers throughout the UK and, while always protecting their heritage, are proactively looking at how we can use this resource to make a contribution towards the fight against climate change.

"We believe that our waterside land could host around 100MW of renewable energy capacity, some 219,000MWh. If we successfully develop this resource it would mean that the nation's canal network would generate more than 10 times more electricity than it consumes."