I WAS very surprised to read that ‘Sheffield could become the first city to generate its own power within 10 years – all from renewable methods’ (Feb 25).
The paper on which this announcement is based is Sheffield – The Decentralised Energy City and was prepared by council officers.
It describes a vision in which all Sheffield’s energy is low-carbon and generated within the city. This is a far cry from it all being renewable as the above statement suggessts. The paper does not even contain figures for the city’s total energy usage, which would seem to be a good starting point for estimating what can be achieved.
Rather than describing it as ‘an ambitious vision launched by a Government minister’, I would suggest that it is simply unrealistic.
Sheffield, in common with all UK cities, will have its work cut out to greatly exceed its renewable energy targets for 2020. These are based on national targets of 15% of the total energy demand.
The council’s paper contains some excellent ideas and proposals, particularly in relation to community engagement. This will be needed not only to encourage small-scale schemes but also well-informed, rational debate about the larger ones.
The latter will inevitably have local environmental impacts and we are sure our and other community groups will be keen to be involved.
First of all though, we need to see more honesty from politicians. What is particularly alarming is that this unlikely announcement appears to have been made with both Coun Andy Sangar, responsible for energy and climate change in the council, and Chris Huhne, the minister responsible for the same in national Government, present at the time.
Chris Broome, Sheffield Campaign Against Climate Change