�multi-billion potential boost for Cambs economy from ‘cleantech’

UP to 450 new wind turbines could be built in Cambridgeshire as the county looks to hit its targets for reducing carbon emissions - but the rest of the cleantech sector could be worth billions of pounds to the Cambridgeshire economy.

Even though Cambridgeshire already has one of the highest renewable energy outputs of any English county, Government policy requires a further 43 per cent reduction in emissions between 2010 and 2025, according to a report due to be finalised on Friday.

The Cambridgeshire Renewables Infrastructure Framework, produced for councils across the county, will present a variety of options for meeting those targets.

That could involve a large number of additional wind turbines, particularly in Huntingdonshire and South and East Cambridgeshire, or the target could be achieved by a variety of other non-wind renewable technologies.

However, the good news, according to Huntingdonshire District Council’s head of environmental management, Dr Paul Jos�, is that developing, manufacturing and installing that technology could be worth up to �6bn to the local economy over that 15-year period - and far more of Cambridgeshire realises its potential as the centre of the ‘cleantech’ sector, believes HDC managing director Malcolm Sharp.

The report, in its near-final form, says wind energy has the potential to meet more than 70 per cent of the county’s contribution to emissions reduction, followed by heat pumps with the potential for 30 per cent, and photovoltaic and biomass technologies, each with 15 per cent.

The report adds that Huntingdonshire and South Cambridgeshire, the two largest districts, have both the greatest renewable energy potential, as well as generating the greatest demand. Alconbury Airfield would also be a suitable location for district heating – there is also a plan to use waste heat from Little Barford power station to heat part of the eastward expansion of St Neots.

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“CRIF is about working out what are the right technologies in the right places,” Mr Sharp said. “That’s not necessarily to say we need lots of wind farms. We are particularly keen on other technologies.”

n A public inquiry into a proposed four-turbine wind farm at Woolley Hill in west Huntingdonshire is due to conclude this week.

n Bicton wind farm inquiry draws to an end, Page xx