closedownarrowexternal-linklogo-verticalmenu-barsearch Skip to main content

Saving energy: the top 10 towns in the UK

Wind turbines on the increase

Image by ali_pk via flickr

The AEA, a climate change consultancy, has been watching us and how we adopt new renewable energy measures, such as solar panels, Feed-in Tariffs and wind power.

Today it published its regional results and some of them have been more surprising than others.

For instance, the North has proved a lot more proactive in taking up renewable energy schemes and showed the biggest uplift in renewable energy generation since the Feed-in Tariff (a government incentive that pays ypu for generating your own energy) was introduced.

On the other hand, homes and businesses in major cities such as Manchester faired a lot worse, coming bottom of the table.

Scotland was the winner for wind turbines. 14% of renewable energy is in wind power and Aberdeenshire alone has implemented 3.7% of the UK’s total.

However, it was Sheffield that shone as the leader in renewable energy. Of the 10 largest cities in the UK, it was Sheffield that beat other major cities, including the countries capitals for the most installed renewable energy measures.

In total, it achieved “over eight times as much installed capacity/1,000 population as London and fifteen times as much as Manchester”. The capital failed even to come second or third in the table, with Leeds and Bristol taking those places respectively.

“This,” wrote the AEA, “flies in the face of geographical expectations that northern cities would not maximise solar PV as much as their southern counterparts.”

By measuring how many KWe (kilowatts of energy) each city produced divided by its population, the AEA has given us a good ratio of which cities are adopting renewable energy the most.

For instance, Sheffield has increased its capacity by 1,997, which is an average of 3.65 KWe per 1000 people.

Although London might have produced the most KWe at 3,242, when divided by 1000 to put it in context of its population, it fairs a lot worse.

*graph information courtesy of AEA Group

It’s not just individual households that are taking advantage of government incentives to go green – measures, such as the Barclays £100m fund to help farmers pay for projects has led to large-scale renewable energy projects around the UK. Councils have also pushed for social housing to create more energy-efficient houses, thus increasing the scope of renewable energy across a range of communities.

Most notably, says the AEA, local authorities have been “taking advantage of’ the Feed-in Tariff scheme”. This means, the AEA predicts, that “low income households will also be able to benefit from future savings through the use of renewable electricity.”

Perhaps this is a ray of hope for the 6.3 million people currently living in fuel poverty.

Categories