28 Feb 11

Renewable project in Somerset receives major cash boost

A renewable energy project in Somerset has been awarded £30,000 from EDF Energy.

The grant comes from the EDF Energy Green Fund and will help pay for a 200kW ‘biomass boiler’ at the Royal Bath & West Showground, near Shepton Mallet.

The Showground, owned by Somerset-based charity The Royal Bath & West of England Society, is the largest agricultural venue in the South West and is best known for hosting its annual rural event, the Royal Bath & West Show.

The boiler, fuelled by locally-sourced wood pellets, will heat the showground’s main indoor arena, the Showering Pavilion, which can seat 3,000 people. A live display screen will also be installed in the arena’s entrance to show visitors exactly how much energy the boiler is generating.

Dr Jane Guise, Chief Executive of the Royal Bath & West Society, said: “We’re delighted that the EDF Energy Green Fund is able to help make this exciting project a reality. The £30,000 will go a huge way to helping us create this low carbon solution.

“The Society takes its environmental responsibilities seriously and we have already received EMAS (EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) accreditation for our continuous improvements to reduce our carbon footprint. We have extensive plans to showcase renewable technology to the one million visitors that we welcome each year.”

The new boiler is expected to generate around 70 per cent of the Showering Pavilion’s 372,000kWh annual heat demand and reduce the site’s carbon dioxide emissions by 52 tonnes each year.

All funding is now in place and the installation will begin in a few weeks, with the project expected to be completed by the end of March.

EDF Energy has awarded £4.6million to 260 renewable energy projects, including dozens in the South West, since the Green Fund was launched in 2001, including more than £1.8million to 107 projects in schools, nurseries and colleges. The fund supports renewable energy projects which produce power from the sun, wind, water and geothermal sources that reduce greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

Mark Thompson, EDF Energy Green Fund manager, said: “We’re delighted to announce that the Bath and West Showground’s renewable energy project has been successful in its grant application. EDF Energy is extremely happy to support what is a very innovative and exciting project. Thanks to customers on our Green Tariff, EDF Energy has been able to invest millions of pounds into small-scale renewable projects through the fund, all part of our commitment to diverse low carbon solutions across the country.”

In all, ten projects have been awarded £257,000 in the latest EDF Energy Green Fund funding round. The Bath & West Showground is one of two projects to receive funding in the South West, with Bicton College in East Devon also receiving £30,000 towards a solar panel installation.

Mr Thompson added: “EDF Energy Green Fund renewable projects operate up and down the country. As well as producing renewable energy, they are a fantastic way to educate communities – and particularly children – in the importance and benefits of low carbon.

“Coupled with education and growing awareness, we believe the challenge of tackling climate change and maintaining affordable energy prices can be met through greater energy efficiency and the generation of electricity from a diverse range of sources including nuclear and renewable – and we need a variety of small, medium and large scale projects to achieve that.”

Awards of up to £30,000 are available for projects in Great Britain and such funds have helped schools, charities, local authorities, churches, water mills and other non-profit organisations to generate clean, green energy in their own community.

The Green Fund awards are possible through EDF Energy’s Green Tariff for consumers who decide to choose renewable energy for their home. Customers on the tariff pay less than £15 a year extra towards the Green Fund, which EDF Energy matches pound for pound. Customers can choose renewable energy for their home by calling 0800 096 9696 and requesting information on EDF Energy’s Green Tariff. Each Green Tariff customer receives an energy efficiency pack including a free home energy survey, information on energy efficiency grants, energy efficiency advice and two low energy light bulbs which can save £18 per year on your electricity bill.