Devon renewable energy production doubles

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The amount of renewable electricity produced in Devon more than doubled over the past year, according to a renewable energy centre.

Regen South West (RSW) said the rise was partly due to an increased number of wind turbines and solar panels.

It said electricity generation increased from 176.42 gigawatt hours (GWh) in 2011 to 378.68 GWh in 2012.

But Dr Phil Bratby, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said renewable electricity was "inefficient".

Merlin Hyman, from RSW, said: "We have excellent local natural resources - the wind, our waves, the tide -and we can become much more self-sufficient and I think most people see that as common sense."

'Controllable sources'

He added that the government initiative Feed in Tariffs (FITs) had also made renewable energy, such as solar panels, more appealing to the general public because customers could receive money for electricity fed into the national grid.

RSW said renewable energy from solar panels increased from 5.59 GWh to 27.43 GWh during the past 12 months while onshore wind energy increased from 9.8 GWh to 186.66 GWh.

A report commissioned in 2008 by West Devon Council from the Devon Association for Renewable Energy said the area had a total annual energy consumption of about 1,600 GWh a year.

But physicist Dr Bratby said: "I think we should continue burning coal, we should continue burning gas, continue having nuclear power.

"You have to remember that those sources of power are controllable, we know how much they can produce.

"It's a long time before we will run out of these things and we'll have plenty of time in the meantime to do something about it."

RSW said its figures were collated from talking to all energy companies in the region and using the data generated by FITs.

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