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Cornwall's community considerations

Cornwall is one of Britain’s leading counties when it comes to the burgeoning green economy - and recent moves could well help it cement that record.

Community ownership of green energy is now prioritised in planning processes, and it’s not just blind encouragement of wind, solar, biomass etc. The council is publishing a range of new guidance, which as well as spelling out the need-to-know details about technologies and what community ownership is all about, stresses the need for proper engagement in the areas where proposed energy schemes are to be established. And all this sounds like responsible stewardship.

The idea is that revenues can be kept local, and prices kept down, in a virtuous cycle of trusted energy delivery. Cornwall Council’s cabinet member for planning, Edwina Hannaford, says:

“Cornwall benefits from a range of significant renewable energy resources, including onshore wind, solar, deep geothermal, biomass and marine energy potential...The Council places great importance on the need to manage these valuable resources responsibly while safeguarding our local environment and the lives of residents. We also recognise the great potential for residents and communities to be involved in and benefit from the transition to a low carbon Cornwall.”

Supporting this vision is likely to be a multi-million pound Smart Innovation Hub (SIH) in Wadebridge. Recent political support has paved the way for backing from the European Regional Development Fund, which should see the new centre open by 2020. Although harnessing and maximising renewables through digital technology will be the focus here, discussions around the proposal have taken on a similar vein to the new planning policies: the importance of shorter supply chains and partnerships to build a truly local energy market.

Cornwall is blessed with a geographic situation and climate to really take advantage of green energy, but there is plenty of scope for different methods of low-carbon generation around the country.

For information on getting started, how local partnerships work, and some inspiring case studies, take a look at our community energy pages. Submit a comment or get in touch with us.  

Gary Hartley is Energy Saving Trust's expert blogger. He has extensive experience researching and writing on a number of topics, with particular expertise in sustainable energy, policy, literature and sport. As well as providing regular blog content, Gary has also been published in numerous magazines and journals.

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