USING the River Trent to create renewable energy for Nottingham was one of the ideas to come out of a climate change conference in the city.
The Nottingham Copenhagen Summit was held yesterday to form opinions on local action and mirror the international climate talks in the Danish capital.
Leading academics, and public, private and voluntary sector business leaders put forward their environmental priorities at the meeting at BioCity.
Some of the other priorities suggested included creating business and community co-operatives who share the cost of large scale renewable energy developments and then share the profits when the energy is sold to the national grid.
Anaerobic digesters, which transform biodegradable waste such as food and vegetation into bio-methane for energy, were also put forward as a key way for the city to meet the climate challenge.
Some of the ideas will be taken forward by the city council as part of its future planning to reduce carbon emissions.
Nottingham South MP Alan Simpson, a champion of green issues, said the city had to think about turning problems into solutions.
“The really good news about this is there are lots of places where we can draw on practical, working examples – but it does require a complete change in the way we set about things,” he said.
Mr Simpson said that in Munich there were 25 weirs along the river through the city and these created hydro-electricity.
And he told how Hamburg decided against building two power stations to meet its energy needs, instead putting combined heat and power boilers into 100,000 homes, schools, offices and factories.
This was at a much lower cost and also provided a secure energy source which could be tapped into to provide the wider energy needs of the city.
He urged people to act now or risk being left behind when energy prices rocket in the next few years.
“There are cities around the country that have seen which way the wind is blowing and have a queue of proposals already sitting on the desk,” he said.
“We need to grab ourselves by the scruff of the neck because there are going to be opportunities that come out of the crisis that we face.”
Andy Vaughan, director of environmental service for the city council, said Nottingham was currently a leader in climate change.
“We are famed for something called the Nottingham Declaration. That really started the climate change movement in local government some time ago.
“We have the tram. We are the Transport Authority of the Year. We have the largest district heating system in the UK.
“But the challenge ahead of us is far larger than our successes to date.
“Whilst the council has a role, its total contribution to the city’s carbon emissions is relatively small.
“Our influence is best in a leadership and facilitation role and that why the main purpose of today is to listen and to work collaboratively.”