University of Cumbria scheme supports local businesses to research new energy projects

As part of an initiative to support research into innovative, low carbon energy technologies, a scheme hosted by the University of Cumbria is providing seed funding for small business with original ideas.

The university’s Renewable Energy Test and Education Centre (RETEC) is based on the west coast of Cumbria and local small businesses are being encouraged to apply for research vouchers, worth £5,000, for use on energy projects.

The RETEC project has been funded with £150,000 received from Britain’s Energy Coast in partnership with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

One of the first successful applications has come from Beckside Construction Limited, near Millom who want to conduct further research into the feasibility of constructing small scale hydro-electric schemes.

Enquiries have indicated there may be a potential demand for small schemes to power houses, farms, small businesses and the national grid.

The company’s RETEC voucher will fund research to bring together detailed site information, the legal permissions required and construction processes along with costs and revenue. The resulting report will be used as a guide to the feasibility of future schemes.

The long term aim is to build and test a modular system which will reduce installation costs and create a product which will cause minimal disruption to the local environment.

Managing director Robert Morris-Eyton comments:

“Beckside Construction Ltd is looking to expand its hydro-electric scheme installation work. The report will provide vital information which will be used to progress the concept and design work required to deliver viable small scale hydro-electric schemes in Cumbria and beyond.

“The funding from RETEC will allow us to progress our work in this area, which we hope will eventually benefit rural habitants and communities by providing a reliable, and cost-effective, energy source.”

The RETEC voucher scheme is still open to applicants with an idea they would like to progress. Small business owners should contact John Berryjohn.berry@cumbria.ac.uk or call 01900 605665. or call 01900 605665.