19th May 2004
'Renaissance' to become a European beacon for green energy
A bid for major European funding to support ambitions for sustainable energy in three communities in France, Spain and the UK has been accepted by the European Commission. The project, christened Renaissance, will enable high standards of energy efficiency and green (renewable) energy technologies to be built into plans for the redevelopment of the three towns.
The Renaissance project involves a European consortium of three urban areas: Lyon in southern France, Zaragoza in northern Spain and Bracknell in the south of the UK, which will co-ordinate the project. Each community will take similar actions to increase the take up of sustainable energy and learn from one another in the process. The project is scheduled to commence in 2005 and concludes in 2009.
The grant from the European Commission has been awarded under CONCERTO, 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. Bracknell Forest Borough Council which is leading the project with its partner TV Energy will start negotiations with the Commission in May 2004 to determine the final level of grant on offer.
The project will act as a leading example in Europe of how to develop urban sustainable energy schemes and the learning and results will be shared through a network of associated communities across Europe who are committed to supporting the project. This network includes:
The European Commission funding will enable the communities of Bracknell, Lyon and Zaragoza to work with a range of partners 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. These technologies will include passive solar design, high levels of insulation and intelligent building energy management systems.
The project will also involve use of green, renewable energy in the design and installation of state-of-the-art district heating, cooling and power networks based on sustainably produced wood fuel. There will also be significant installations of wind and solar energy technologies integrated into the urban environment. The use of renewable energy technologies within public spaces will ensure the fullest public awareness and sustainable development potential in each community.
Renaissance will also deliver educational and training programmes to decision-makers, city planners, developers, the building industry, students and the general public and to the network of Observer Communities.
A significant programme of research and development will also be conducted including research into alternative transport fuels, socio-economic aspects of energy systems, building performance and management, energy and planning policy and commercial and fiscal solutions including the development of energy services companies (ESCOs).
Dr. Keith Richards the Project Co-ordinator for Renaissance and Managing Director of TV Energy, believes the project will set the standard for town centre developments across Europe. "This is a major project which will rightly put Bracknell, Lyon and Zaragoza on the map as European beacons for renewable energy."
The Renaissance project is a partnership involving the following organisations: