Cornwall may be one of the poorest counties in the UK, but it does have one thing in abundance – green energy resources. Blessed with long sunny days, its local electricity grid is positively swamped with solar, much of it installed during those early heady days of the Feed-in Tariff. Its windy climate meant it became home to the UK’s first commercial wind farm, and its lengthy coastline makes it ahaven for testing marine renewables. The excess of green energy is not all good news, however. It means for example that the Isles of Scilly, an archipelago located 28 miles off the Cornish coast, can’t export its excess solar power onto the mainland grid. But from adversity springs opportunity, and it is the challenges presented by Cornwall’s newly acquired leadership status in green energy that puts it at the forefront of new grid balancing and storage projects that will define the next stage of the UK’s energy transformation. Earlier this year, the Scillies launched the three-year, £10.8m Smart Islands project to trial the new technologies that can help the Scillies become an independent hub for green energy, no longer reliant on its single, unreliable interconnector cable and back-up diesel generators, but instead a kind of future community of electric vehicles, heat pumps, solar panels, energy storage, electric vehicles and an internet of things platform all working in harmony. The scheme won a major boost this week with confirmation the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) will contribute an extra £2.95m to the scheme to fund an anaerobic digestion plant, energy efficiency work with island businesses, and the deployment of a complete EV infrastructure including bi-directional chargers and ‘solar canopies’ for clean refuelling.
Business Green 30th Nov 2017 read more »