Cornwall Council sets new ambitions for Cornwall’s energy future

Cornwall Council has set out exciting plans for a new energy future for Cornwall which will see lower energy bills, greener and more affordable homes and transport, and the potential development of a new locally owned energy company.

The vision for Cornwall’s Energy Future, approved by the Council’s Cabinet earlier this week, identifies ambitious targets for 2030 which are designed to ensure that residents, communities and the local economy all benefit from the low carbon energy transition.  

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These include:

  • Reducing fuel poverty to 5% (fuel poverty currently stands at just under 15% in Cornwall).
  • Meeting 100% of Cornwall’s electricity demand from renewable and low carbon sources.
  • Increasing the proportion of Cornwall’s energy ‘spend’ that is retained within the local economy to 30%.
  • Increasing the proportion of Cornwall’s energy that is owned locally to 50%.
  • Reducing fuel bills by 20%.
  • Creating at least 4,000 new jobs.

It also includes the possibility of creating a Cornwall energy company which would improve fuel security and ensure that the financial benefits of generating and providing renewable energy are retained locally.

Coming in the same week that the Government has published its draft Industrial Strategy, the Council’s energy ambition sends a clear message that Cornwall is ready to lead the transition to affordable, clean energy and clean growth. 

“Cornwall has a long history at the forefront of green energy” said Julian German, the Council’s Cabinet Member Economy and Culture.

“ From the first commercial wind farm 25 years ago to the country’s first devolution agreement to focus on clean energy innovation, Cornwall has led the way towards a low carbon economy.

“While we recognise these significant successes, we now need to look to the future to maintain Cornwall’s position and push for greater benefits for our residents, businesses and communities from the energy transition.  I am pleased that the Cabinet has supported the vision for Cornwall’s Energy Future which will help us to deliver these benefits. “

Cornwall is well known for its abundant natural resources, including wind, solar, biomass, hydro, geothermal and marine; and its position as a leader on the low carbon agenda.

Since becoming a unitary council in 2009, Cornwall Council has built on the work of the former district and county councils and, under the Green Cornwall programme, has developed and implemented a range of innovative and ground breaking projects designed to make the most of Cornwall’s natural resources for the benefit of residents, communities and the local economy.

These include the creation of the National Solar Centre in Cornwall, the development of the first local authority owned solar farm and the implementation of a comprehensive electric car charging network.  As a result Cornwall now generates the equivalent of nearly 1/3 of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources, delivering in excess of £10m in community benefits contributions which are available to fund initiatives such as increasing energy efficiency in homes or improvements to local parks.

Work is already underway to build on this success.  The last few weeks have seen around £40m invested in smart energy and innovative energy generation projects across Cornwall. Part funded under the European Structure Funding Programme, these projects will bring forward new opportunities for Cornwall to generate, distribute and own clean energy.

Recognised by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Rt Hon Greg Clarke, as ‘ground-breaking’, Cornwall’s energy Devolution Agreement is also paving the way for an improved local energy market. With the transfer of Wave Hub – the world’s leading wave energy testing facility – taking place, the Council is actively exploring opportunities to capitalise on this momentum.

“Our new future energy ambition shows that, at a time when the Government is looking for a new industrial strategy, Cornwall stands ready play its part in driving clean, affordable growth “ said Julian German. 

Story posted: 27 January 2017