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Major European funding boost in Oxford area

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A unique project in Oxford and the surrounding county has become one of only nine in Europe to win first-round funding from the European Union.

Oxford City Council has led on the bid for funding in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council.

The area is to benefit from £930,000 of European grant funding for a £1.24m programme to develop local renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

This initial funding from Intelligent Energy, under its Mobilising Local Energy Investment programme, could mobilise a further investment of over £15million to the area over the three year life of the programme.

Oxfordshire communities are spearheading the development of renewable community energy schemes, with a network of active communities being supported through the locally-based Low Carbon Hub.

Barbara Hammond, Director of the Low Carbon Hub says: "Community energy is an important part of the UK energy picture.

"The Oxford area has been chosen to receive this funding because we have already shown how community energy can work - now we can go further and faster.

"These first-round projects will set the example - by making these schemes a reality in Oxfordshire, we can inspire others across the UK to do the same."

Councillor John Tanner, Board Member for a Cleaner, Greener Oxford, says: "This is a fantastic Christmas present for Oxford and our low carbon future. Oxford City Council will work with the Low Carbon Hub and the County Council to create community based renewable energy projects.

"We are already working with the Hub on a Green Deal+ scheme to reduce energy costs for households in Barton.

"This European funding will mean lots more hydro, ground heat, solar and wind projects in the Oxford area."

It is the only district in the UK to lead on a successful bid from the European Agency on Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI) in their Mobilising Local Energy Investment programme.

The European funding will also be used to mobilise investment in industrial scale energy infrastructure across the County.

Oxfordshire County Council will be working to make larger scale renewable energy projects a reality on public buildings across the county such as schools and libraries.

The Oxford project was only one of three in the UK to receive funding - the others were Newcastle City and Cambridgeshire. The remaining six have gone to projects in Denmark, Italy, Spain, Norway and Austria.

Released on Thursday 13 December 2012



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