Press Releases

Bracknell to become a European beacon for green energy – University of Reading

Release Date : 20 May 2004

Bracknell Forest Borough Council's bid for major European funding to support its ambition for the regenerated Bracknell town centre to be powered by green energy has been accepted by the European Commission. The Renaissance project, in which the University of Reading is a major partner, will enable high standards of energy efficiency and green (renewable) energy technologies to be built into plans for the redevelopment of the outdated new town. The Renaissance project is worth £12.5M in total for Bracknell and funding from Europe is essential. The grant from the European Commission has been awarded under the Concerto Programme, a major new European Union initiative to support local communities in demonstrating the social, environmental and economic benefits of integrating renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy-management systems on a community scale. The Council, with partner TV Energy, will start negotiations with the Commission later this month to determine the final level of grant on offer. The Renaissance project involves a consortium of three urban areas in Europe, each taking similar actions to increase the take up of sustainable energy and learning from one another in the process. Lyon in southern France and Zaragoza in northern Spain will partner Bracknell, which will co-ordinate the project. The project is scheduled to commence in 2005 and concludes in 2009. Along with the University of Reading, the Bracknell Renaissance team includes the Borough Council, the Bracknell Regeneration Partnership, TV Energy, Waitrose, SEEDA and Slough Heat and Power. Many other organisations will also be involved from across the South East region. A great deal of work has already been completed as a part of an Energy Saving Trust funded feasibility study carried out by TV Energy to assess the town centre's energy needs and to develop a solution to meet those needs from clean, green energy sources. It is estimated that significant carbon dioxide savings can be achieved by adopting renewable energy into the town centre and that the new systems may be provided at no extra cost to the Borough Council, developers or consumers. The European Commission funding will enable the Borough Council to work with a range of partners to design and install a state-of-the-art district heating, cooling and power system to serve the town centre which may run on sustainably produced wood fuel. Waste wood thinnings from local forests and woodland will help power the energy plant in the short term with new short rotation coppice planted to provide fuel in the medium to long term. The innovative plans could also include wind and solar energy installations. The project will also involve a significant amount of research and development to ensure that the highest possible standards of energy efficiency are adopted into the design of the new buildings and for those that will be refurbished. The project will act as a leading example of how to develop urban sustainable energy schemes and the results will be shared with 13 other communities committed to support the project. This network of communities which stretches from the South East of England to the City of Venice, with its well-known problems related to climate change and rising sea levels, to communities in Greece, Bulgaria, Spain, Croatia and Poland. The Borough Council's Chief Executive, Timothy Wheadon, is excited by the award: "The Renaissance project adds to the catalogue of innovations that Bracknell Forest Borough Council champions. It will further add to Bracknell's profile as a high performing local authority and will make us stand out as a high quality town centre. In this age of uncertainty surrounding security of energy supply and global climate change, the town will be taking a positive step forward to solve these problems locally." Dr Keith Richards, the Project Manager for Renaissance and CEO of TV Energy, believes the plans for Bracknell will set the standard for other town centre redevelopments in the UK. "This is a major project which will put Bracknell on the map as a pan-European beacon for renewable energy. By 2009 a majority of the town centre's energy needs could be met from locally produced, non polluting green energy generation." Ends Notes for Editors: 1. TV Energy works to educate, promote and deliver renewable energy solutions to communities, individuals and businesses. It is sponsored by the Association of Councils in the Thames Valley Region, the European Commission, 15 Local Authorities and a wide range of other public and private sector organisations including Waitrose with their HQ in Bracknell. 2. TV Energy will act as the managing agent for Bracknell Forest Borough Council on the Renaissance project. 3. Renewable energy uses free and renewable sources of energy to generate heat and power, such as energy from the wind, sun and water, or from materials which can be renewed, such as wood or animal wastes. These sources of energy do not produce polluting greenhouse gases and are carbon neutral over their life cycle, so they can make a large contribution in slowing the impact of climate change. Examples of renewable energy are solar panels on roofs, wind turbines, and using wood fuel instead of oil or gas, for individual boilers or larger heating schemes. 4. The Government has set a target of 10% of the UK's electricity from renewable energy sources by 2010. TV Energy is working closely with the regional government agencies to ensure that the potential for renewable energy in the Thames Valley region is fully developed. 5. In April 2003 the town's major landowners, Legal & General and Schroders Exempt Property Unit Trust, formed a partnership - The Bracknell Regeneration Partnership (BRP) - to pursue the development and regeneration of the town centre. At the same time, Bracknell Forest Borough Council entered into an agreement to work together with the Bracknell Regeneration Partnership on the £750m Bracknell town centre project. All parties are now working together on a planning application in line with the adopted masterplan. For all press enquires contact: Dr Keith Richards TV Energy, Liberty House, The Enterprise Centre, New Greenham Park, Newbury, Berkshire, RG19 6HS. Tel: 01635 817420 Fax: 01635 552779 Email: For further information see the TV Energy website:


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