Figures released by Regen SW show North Devon is punching well above its weight in renewable energy.

SURPRISE figures have revealed North Devon and Torridge generate enough green electricity to power almost all the homes in both districts.

The pair emerged as leading lights in a survey released yesterday (Tuesday) by Regen SW, which showed together they put out almost 150 megawatts of renewable energy per year, with North Devon at 99MW and Torridge 48MW for combined electricity and heat generation.

That is half the Devon total and enough to light up 66,600 of the 74,500 homes in both districts for a year.

That far outstrips the totals of Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Dorset and Avon. It is also the first time Devon has overtaken Cornwall in the 'green stakes'.

Elsewhere, Torbay produces just 4MW and Plymouth 15MW.

The Regen SW figures show that 75MW of North Devon and Torridge output is from onshore wind turbines - much of it from the Fullabrook Wind Farm.

But photovoltaic (PV) solar panels also make up more than 50MW of the combined total, while the growing business of biomass heating contributes 7MW.

News North Devon is punching well above its green weight will please some but dismay others, as controversy surrounds each turbine planning application and a proposed 240 turbine Atlantic Array on the horizons.

Merlin Hyman, chief executive of Regen SW, said North Devon had the natural resources, the rural landscape, innovative companies and dedicated green energy community groups, which all pushed it to the forefront.

"North Devon is using its own natural resources to generate its own energy - a common sense objective that sometimes gets a little lost," he said.

"It's important not to forget that the groundswell of opinion is strongly pro-renewables generally. It has created 10,000 jobs across the South West and there's strong potential to progress further across a whole range of technologies."

But he said the South West was still generating only four of the 15 per cent target set by the government and there was a long way to go'.

What do you think? Is this good news for the region and its economy? Should other areas such as South and East Devon be doing more to shoulder the renewable quota?

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