Politicians, unions and business leaders have been highlighting plans to develop the West Cumbrian coast as a centre for energy generation. The reception was held at the Labour party conference in Manchester, and was led by West Cumbrian MPs Sir Tony Cunningham and Jamie Reed.
The idea of creating an 'Energy Coast' is not new. There are already plans for three major nuclear projects in West Cumbria. Unions at Sellafield are calling for these to begin as soon as possible in order to preserve jobs in the nuclear industry.
The Manchester gathering was told up to 3,000 jobs could be created over 15 years once Energy Coast is fully up and running. While much of the talk is around nuclear power, the aim is to attract other developments such as wind and biomass, making West Cumbria a northern hub for energy generation.
South Lakeland District Council organising its first ever collective energy switching scheme. Hundreds of people have signed up and now the staff at the council are too. They say that together they can find the cheapest energy options.
Councillor Graham Vincent told ITV Border:
"It is an easy sign up process and we encourage anybody anywhere to get involved"
Members of the public can go online and register or visit one of the offices at either Kendal, Ulverston or Windermere,
Local MP Russell Brown is angry over the SNP’s decision to overturn an 11-turbine wind farm rejection in the region.
The Glenchamber wind farm in Wigtownshire was turned down by the council last year claiming it would have “significant adverse affects on the local area.”
This is the second rejection to be overturned by the Scottish Government after the Carscreugh Fell site near Glenluce was given the go ahead in March.
“The Scottish Government clearly doesn’t care what local opinion is about wind farms. For the second time in just a few months they have ignored the decision of the local council and railroaded through another wind farm that isn’t wanted."
– Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown
The decision comes after the Scottish Government wrote to the council in June to ask them to identify regions where companies can apply to erect new wind farms.
Russell Brown has now called for Scotland’s Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing MSP, to visit Dumfries and Galloway to hear concerns.
The Energy Bill means gas and electricity bills could be £200 more. The Energy Secretary Ed Davey quickly dismissed that figure but conceded prices would have to rise to help fund badly needed investment in the UK's generating capacity Mr Davey is today publishing the governments Draft Energy Bill.
Ministers want to lessen the UK's dependence on imported gas and other fossil fuels. In their place they want a better mix of renewables and new nuclear - including at Sellafield. The problem is cost both in terms of building new capacity and the price paid for electricity generated by nuclear.
Officially no public subsidies are available for new nuclear but today's Draft Bill is expected to outline details of a so called contract for difference which it is hoped will more or less equalise the cost of producing electricity by whichever method.