United Utilities benefits from NWDA carbon-saving fund

The North West Development Agency fund providing grants to new projects that can demonstrate significant carbon savings has awarded £435,000 to three businesses that are involved in projects and products totalling over £1.7m.

The NWDA said The Carbon Challenge Fund, which was set up in May 2009, is also forecast to safeguard 75 jobs and make savings of more than 17,350 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by challenging the region to become a leader on climate change by 2020.

The first three beneficiaries of The Carbon Challenge Fund include:

  • Water Power Enterprises – £100,000 has been granted towards the Otterspool Community Hydro scheme in Stockport. Calculated to deliver 81.25 tonnes of carbon dioxide savings each year, Otterspool is forecasted to generate enough to power over 40 homes in the area. Funds generated from the project will provide sustainable grant stream for other environmental projects in the area.
  • Diodes Zetex Semiconductors – £135,000 of match funding has been invested to enable the firm to design, manufacture, and install an energy efficient clean-room air-conditioning project at its manufacturing plant in Oldham. This project is one of a suite of green and energy-saving initiatives for this award-winning site.
  • United Utilities – Taking a groundbreaking energy-reducing sewage process from design to fully operational at a wastewater treatment plant in Ellesmere Port, The Carbon Challenge Fund has provided UU with £200,000 towards its £950,000 Gravitox project. The demonstration project is forecasted to bring 75% carbon savings.

The first round of The Carbon Challenge Fund funding, which was managed by Envirolink Northwest, the region's funded development organisation for the energy and environmental technologies and services sector, received more than 75 expressions of interest, of which 27 proposals were shortlisted. Eight projects were approved following an independent appraisal and are now being contracted.

The NWDA has made up to £2m available to The Carbon Challenge Fund, which is part of the Northwest Climate Change Action Plan. The action plan sets out the region's mission to become the leader on climate change by 2020, and is being delivered by the Northwest Climate Change Partnership.

Steven Broomhead, chief executive of North West Development Agency, said: "England's North West has long been a pioneer for innovation, forward thinking attitudes and the willingness to develop and progress. Projects selected for the Carbon Challenge Fund represent a key part of the Agency's commitment to creating a low carbon economy in England's North West – improving efficiency, reducing costs and safeguarding jobs."

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