Sustainable energy agency gets cash boost

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Regen SW, the region’s sustainable energy agency, has received a £2 million investment to continue its work with businesses across the south west.

The cash boost, which extends Regen SW’s funding by two years until March 2011, comes from the South West RDA, which has now invested more than £5.3 million in Regen SW since 2002. 

The extra money will allow Regen SW to deliver a new business plan designed to beef up its support to businesses, including the marine energy sector.  It will also look at speeding up the transition to a low-carbon economy in the South West by unlocking sustainable energy opportunities, accelerating the uptake of the region’s renewable energy resources, and championing initiatives that reduce energy demand.

Jonny Boston, energy manager at the South West RDA, said: “This further investment in Regen SW forms a vital part of our commitment to developing a low-carbon economy, by unlocking the business potential of the sustainable energy sector.   Regen SW has helped put the South West on the map in terms of renewable energy, and will continue to play a significant role in helping the region reap the benefits of harnessing its substantial renewable energy resources.”

Regen SW already works to develop all aspects of the sustainable energy industry in the region, but is particularly focused on assisting the growth of sustainable energy businesses in the region. It does this by providing services that include brokering new business through a supply chain service, providing specialist advice on policy and funding, promoting the sector’s capability inside and outside the region, and encouraging inward investment from businesses new to the region.

Regen SW has had numerous successes over the past six years including: helping approximately 450 businesses; training 1,500 firms via events and seminars; and giving strategic planning advice to 250 organisations  – including councils – on how to develop new sustainable energy projects. It has also identified 30 sites for biomass installation as part of its role in managing the South West bioheat programme on behalf of the South West RDA. 

Cheryl Hiles acting chief executive of Regen SW, said: “Sustainable energy is becoming increasingly important, particularly with the recent agreement of the EU renewables targets for 2020.  As a region we will have to reduce energy demand by at least 20 per cent and dramatically increase deployment of all our on and offshore renewable technologies, so it’s essential that we pick up the pace on all of our sustainable energy activities.  This would not be possible without the necessary investment in place, so this extension to our funding from the South West RDA will prove to be crucially important to the region.”