Select Committee on Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Written Evidence




  37.  npower renewables is a leading developer and operator of onshore and offshore wind farms. We currently operate 18 onshore wind farms and one offshore wind farm with a total generating capacity of over 400MW; equivalent to over 17% of UK installed wind capacity. Built in 2003, our North Hoyle project was the UK's first major offshore wind farm.

  38.  We have a strong portfolio of onshore wind farms under construction and at various stages of development. Offshore, we have started construction of our second offshore wind farm, Rhyl Flats. In addition, we hold options to build two further major offshore wind farms (each of approximately 1,000MW) as part of the second round of offshore licenses that were granted. The first of these, Gwynt y Mo®r, has been submitted into the planning process and we are awaiting consent from the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR).


  39.  We also operate hydroelectric power stations at 15 sites with a combined capacity of 59MW. We are committed to continuing to develop small hydroelectric power schemes, and have several schemes at various stages of development.

Marine renewables

  40.  We are currently investigating the potential for a wave scheme to be located near Siadar, on the Isle of Lewis. This is a joint project between npower renewables and Wavegen, a wave power company based in Inverness. The scheme would involve building a new breakwater similar to those used around the UK coastline for the provision of harbour facilities (thus also providing some protection for harbour facilities in the local community) and could generate up to 3MW of electricity, enough to supply around 1,500 homes.

Other renewable-related activities in the RWE group

  41.  Within the wider RWE group there have also been significant commitments in renewable and low carbons sources of electricity. RWE npower owns and operates a large and diverse portfolio of power generating plant in the UK with over 10,000MW of gas, coal and oil-fired power stations and cogeneration plant. RWE npower co-fires biomass at a number of its conventional power stations including Didcot, Tilbury and Aberthaw and has been a major contributor to co-firing under the RO. RWE npower has also committed significant investment into the R&D of low carbon technologies, notably clean coal technology.

  42.  RWE npower's retail arm, npower, is a leading supplier of electricity and gas in the UK, serving the residential, small to medium enterprises and industrial and commercial sectors. npower promotes a range of microgeneration technologies to residential customers, providing advice on micro wind devices, ground source heat pumps and photovoltaics. npower also supports R&D into renewable technologies through its renewable electricity tariff, Juice, and our Juice fund.[251] To date, this fund has supported two major projects namely, the Regen South Wave project and The Path to Power report, in conjunction with the BWEA, in addition to a number of smaller projects. Juice is part of RWE npower's retail business and will not be part of the new company RWE Innogy.

251   Juice is npower's domestic 100% renewable electricity tariff, which is offered to customers at no extra cost compared to their standard electricity. npower makes an annual contribution to the Juice fund of £10 for every customer that stays with Juice. In 2006, npower's contribution was over £500,000 and the fund is expected to grow to £1 million within the next three years. Back

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