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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 April, 2003, 20:36 GMT 21:36 UK
Green energy 'could power region'
wind farm
Wind farms are a major plank of the agency's proposals

A government agency has said the South West has enough renewable energy resources to supply all its energy needs.

Proposals were unveiled on Wednesday by the Renewable Energy Agency South West (Regen) to generate up to 15% of the region's power from sources such as windpower by 2010.

Only 1% of energy in the region currently comes from renewable sources.

But Regen said that in the future, there was massive potential for renewables.

Regen chief executive Matthew Spencer said: "This region has the capability to meet its power needs from three key areas.

"These are burning waste, biomass - harnessing energy from fast-growing crops - and windpower."

The majority who are in favour should be considered in any decisions on wind farms or other renewable schemes
Matthew Spencer

Regen, which is supported by the Regional Development Agency (RDA), said a MORI survey of public opinion found a majority in favour of its strategy.

That includes mapping the potential for renewable energy for every local authority area in the region and supporting experimental projects in wave and tidal power.

Protesters 'minority'

The RDA suggests that renewable energy could create a further 12,000 jobs and an extra 260m for the South West economy.

Artist's impression of tidal machine

Mr Spencer accepted that the agency faced strong opposition to wind farms in Devon, where all proposals have been rejected.

But he maintained that protesters were in a minority.

He said: "Opponents have been very successful, and their views should be taken into account.

"But the majority who are in favour should also be considered in any decisions on wind farms or other renewable schemes."

Fifty four per cent of those questioned in the MORI poll said they "strongly supported" the use of wind power in the South West.

There are already ore than 90 renewable energy schemes in the South West, including seven wind farms in Cornwall.

Schemes in the pipeline include a biomass plant at Winkleigh in Devon, a wave energy scheme off the coast of St Ives in Cornwall and tidal turbines off Lynmouth in Devon.

MORI interviewed 585 residents from across the region between 20 March and 8 April.

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