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Legal and Finance: Energy on the move brings a double coup; Teamwork: Lawmen's clients land big orders.

The energy team at one of Birmingham's law firms is celebrating a double coup. Martineau Johnson's client Warwick Energy has just won a pounds 10 million Government grant to construct one of a tranche of offshore wind farms.

The 30 separate turbines, each some 125 metres high, will cover ten square kilometres of seabed, five miles off the Cumbrian coast.

Another client, Warwick University, has just been awarded pounds 500,000 toward the cost of revamping its energy network.

The award is in addition to pounds 650,000 received by the university last year for the first phase of the project.

Its current heating system supplies academic and administration buildings, with halls of residence using individual gas-fired boilers. The new hot water network will link all the buildings which will be supplied with heat and electricity from combined heat and power plant.

Paul Brennan, a partner in Martineau's energy team, calculates that the university will reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1,800 tonnes a year, and save almost pounds 250,000 a year.

He said the wind farm project by Wellsbourne-based Warwick Energy would generate sufficient energy to power almost 90,000 homes. Mr Brennan believes both projects send the same message, that economic growth is compatible with reduced carbon dioxide emissions. 'As the present volatility in our weather demonstrates, global warming is probably the biggest environmental issue that the world faces,' he said.

'However, even though the UK is on course to meet its Kyoto targets, there can be no room for complacency.'

Principal energy consultant at Martineau Johnson John Stubbs, a veteran of the UK's energy industry having held senior management posts with NatPower, Scottish Power and the CEGB, and also Warwick Energy's company secretary, stresses that there is far more to sustainable energy than offshore wind farms.

'Warwick Energy's project has impressed all who have studied it, which is why Energy Minister Brian Wilson awarded it a substantial grant in the recent funding round,' said Mr Stubbs. 'Warwick University has demonstrated what can be done to reduce carbon emissions via more traditional methods. Between the two projects though there is a raft of other renewable energy options.'

Mr Stubbs is enthusiastic about the options for energy from waste and biomass, where carbon-neutral crops, forestry residues, or agricultural by-products are used to fuel power generation plants.

The Energy Minister has also awarded a number of grants to biomass projects, including pounds 500,000 to Midlands-based Eccleshall Biomass. In response to the growing interest in sustainable generation projects Martineau Johnson has announced the appointment of Lynne Franklin, a planning law specialist with considerable experience in the energy sector.

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John Stubbs (left), energy consultant at Martineau Johnson, new recruit Lynne Franklin and Paul Brennan, energy partner
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 30, 2003
Words:461
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