Stephen Timms, the new Energy Minister in the UK, announced the first round of community-based renewable energy projects to receive funding under the Clear Skies program. The various projects are a contribution to the governments’s aim to generate 10 percent of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2010.London, United Kingdom – July 8, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The 22 successful applicants, from across England and Wales, will share more than £500,000 (US$824,000) to part-fund a range of locally sustainable energy projects. Grants awarded in this round will fund a number of new projects. “The challenges we face to turn the UK into a low carbon economy mean that everyone will have to change they way they think about and use energy,” Timms said “The response to the Clear Skies initiative shows that people across the UK really understand the impact renewable energy can make to their community. These projects show that thinking small is the first step to changing the bigger picture.” The £10 million (US$16.4 million) Clear Skies program, launched in January, funds homeowners and community organisations setting up small-scale renewable energy projects in England and Wales. The Scottish Executive runs a parallel scheme for similar projects in Scotland. The initiative is run by the Building Research establishment. Among some of the more notable projects is the installation of a wind turbine at the Nidderdale High School and Community College, in the Yorks & Humber area. The £13,396 (US$21,000) grant requested is intended to cover additional costs incurred since the initial budget was set for the installation of the turbine next to the school. The plan is already well under way and the turbine should be installed this month. In Wales, the Cardiff County Council secured a £24,3000 (US$39,000) solar thermal grant to incorporate solar hot water heating systems in 48 new houses as part of a regeneration in the Cardiff Bay area. A biomass grant of will was awarded for integration with the Thames Chase, a community forest in Upminster, Essex, covering 40 square miles and the aim is to increase tree cover from 8 to 30 percent over 40 years. The grant will go towards a Biomass heating system for the area’s visitor center. The many other projects that received grants for a variety of renewable and energy efficiency improvements can be found at the DTI link below.