SHEFFIELD could become the first city in Britain to generate its own power within 10 years - all from renewable methods - under an ambitious vision launched by a Government minister.
Energy and Climate Secretary, Chris Huhne, launched the project accompanied by Sheffield city councillors and representatives of electricity company E.on.
A key part of the plans is creation of the £100 million new biomass-fuelled power station at Blackburn Meadows by E.on.
Households will be encouraged to fit solar panels through the Feed In Tarrif scheme, where they generate electricity for their own homes and receive a payment for selling surplus to the national grid.
Another scheme to help homes, the Renewable Heat Initiative, to be launched in June, will be similar but involving the Government offering payments to households for fitting ground source heat pumps to replace boilers.
Speaking at the launch event at Castle College, Mr Huhne said: “Sheffield really is a pioneer in coming up with this vision to move towards a decentralised, low carbon economy for the future.
“I wish Sheffield all the best in its quest to become the UK’s first local energy city.”
He revealed the city will also benefit from some of the 250,000 new jobs the Government believes will be created from its Green Deal initiative, to provide loft and wall insulation for all the UK’s homes in the next 20 years.
Detailed plans for further large renewable energy schemes in Sheffield have not yet been developed.
But E.on is working with the council and both universities on proposals.
The news comes as Sheffield Council is proposing to axe its Sheffield Is My Planet environmental awareness campaign to save £100,000, and slash £80,000 from a budget to develop renewable energy schemes as it makes £84 million of budget cuts in 2011/12.
Council leader Paul Scriven said: “There will be public investment in the future.”