A small town in Cornwall has set itself the ambitious target of turning around it’s fuel efficiency fortunes in the next 6 years. With fuel poverty in the town of Wadebridge being a key concern the locally formed Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network are looking to produce all their energy from renewable energy sources of solar panels and biogas facilities. This again looks to be reinforcing the trend of whole communities looking to be run entirely from renewable energy which we have reported on multiple times in previous months.
Will There Be A Continued Growth In Energy Sustainable Towns
As has been often witnessed when such plans are muted the viability for a scheme to be successful is far more likely in a small inhabited sparsely populated area which is the case here with Wadebridge and also other instance like the Isle of Eigg and the western Isles of Scotland that we have also discussed lately. Fundamentally the reason for this comes down to money and logistics.
WREN Is A Movement Not Just A Project
The organization which has been running for the last 24 months is setup not just to achieve the infrastructure targets highlighted above but also to offer advice to residents of the area on how best to become more fuel efficient. The key focus of WREN is to return the area back to being self sufficient on local energy; where once this was the case from local electricity and gas works the plan now is to do this via green technology.
The Planning Process Is Very Proactive
It appears many renewable projects be it solar PV, wind, hydro electrical and more could learn from how WREN has looked to champion the technology within the local area. BY setting up a hub of advice and being as clear and transparent as possible the local area have been very reciprocal for what the local organization is trying to promote and such a open attitude to change has led to projects be helped to pass approvals rather than being hindered which is often a story that gets reported.
Will WREN Be Able To Reach It’s Goal Of Reducing Fuel Poverty
This is the aim and with a deficit of an approximate 25% across the town it is the hope that putting the infrastructure in place and having it operational by 2020 will reduce all energy costs to the town. If this does occur instance like this one and the previously discussed Isle of Eigg will surely be setting out a blue print for self sufficient energy sustainable towns.
A Local Energy Market Is Key To Success
The success of the project and if the town is able to achieve it’s zero carbon goal will come down to the ability to regulate it’s own energy market fairly to a degree where homes and business are receiving what they need at the correct newly reduced price. When the numbers considered are that the town is in fuel poverty to the tune of £3M is clear to see that hopes of satisfying this and keeping the money within the town to improve the local economy are plans to benefit the whole community and not just for those looking to reduce their energy bills.
Does The Council Back The Plans
With Tourism a key beneficiary for the whole area any improvement to the towns of the costal region is only seen as a good thing. The council is fully behind the project and they have stressed the importance of local communities using the abundant resources at their disposal to achieve their goals and are also welcoming of any jobs the new infrastructure may create within the area.
Some previous related articles of interest:
The changing face of the US solar power market
Solar share investments on the rise
Smart energy meters and the increasing role they have within the solar market