Cornwall is taking the next steps towards a better energy future for its communities and residents.

The way we produce and use energy is changing. Cornwall has been at the forefront of the emergence of technologies to generate clean energy in the UK. Cornwall Council and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership are now taking steps to place Cornwall at the forefront of changes to the energy market. As technology develops so do the opportunities for people to buy and sell energy differently and to retain a greater proportion of the revenues associated with producing the energy we need within our local economy.

The development of these new ‘local energy markets’ could help Cornwall to retain millions of pounds within the local economy as the required technologies and structures are developed.

And developments are underway. In November the Piclo trial will be formally launched. Piclo is a collaboration between energy startup Open Utility and green energy provider Good Energy. The service is the UK’s first online market for renewable energy, allowing consumers and generators to buy and sell renewable energy directly. The trail will run for six months and much of the activity is taking place in Cornwall linking locally-owned energy with local businesses.

This is just the first step; Cornwall and Isles of Scilly benefit from funding from Europe to help improve the competitiveness of our economy (European Structural Funds). A signification proportion of these funds will be directed towards low carbon innovation, including the development of the energy infrastructure needed to make local energy markets happen. The first projects which will benefit from this funding will be announced next year.

Cornwall’s success is securing its first Devolution Deal this summer represents another significant step forward for the county. The Deal recognises the value of a local energy market for Cornwall and includes the commitment to work with Government to explore new models for community ownership of low carbon energy.

Welcoming the news that Cornwall is well represented as part of the Piclo trial, Julian German, the Council’s cabinet member for economy and culture, said Cornwall has a history of innovation and the emergence of decentralised energy represents a real opportunity to grow our economy and help tackle some of the challenges, such as fuel poverty, which face many of Cornwall’s residents.

“The Government must support Cornwall, and other parts of the UK, to unlock our economic potential and support our residents through cleaner, cheaper energy. Recent policy changes are hard to understand, particularly the removal of tax breaks for community energy schemes and dramatic cuts outlined for clean energy subsidies.

“Research by Good Energy (backed by Sheffield University) highlights the fact that renewable energy significantly reduces the cost of electricity. As we replace traditional power stations with more renewables the savings will exceed the cost of subsidies, meaning we will be paying less to have clean energy rather than more.

“It’s great to see Cornish businesses and community groups taking advantage of innovations like the Piclo trial. Despite recent backward steps from Government, Cornwall’s energy future looks bright.”

More information about the trail can be found on Open Utility’s Piclo website

Story posted 2 November 2015