September start for smart turbine

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Construction on Cornwall’s first smart grid-connected wind turbine which will create enough power for over 1,440 homes per annum and help cut carbon emissions is nearing completion.

Rotor blades spanning 40m in length have now been fitted to the 2.3 megawatt (MW) turbine at Ventonteague, near Carland Cross, on the A30.

The turbine is the first to be built in Cornwall since 2016 and the only one to have been installed in the south west this year.

It is set to start generating renewable electricity from September.

The smart grid-connected turbine will help Cornwall better manage its energy supply and reduce Cornwall’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 3,300 tonnes a year over the next two decades.

Transforming the energy sector is seen as an essential part of Cornwall Council’s response to tackling the climate emergency to help Cornwall become carbon neutral by 2030.

Currently Cornwall generates around 37% of electricity from renewables, up from around 6% in 2009.

The new wind turbine is part of an EU-funded trial and forms part of energy company Centrica’sCornwall Local Energy Market (LEM) which aims to help increase the amount of renewable energy that can be deployed by managing the electricity network more efficiently.

Tim Dwelly, Cornwall’s portfolio holder for culture, economy and planning, said: “Despite challenges posed by the lockdown we have managed to keep the construction of our first smart-grid wind turbine on schedule and we look forward to it starting to supply renewable energy in excess of 1,400 Cornish homes per annum from September.

“The turbine will be an important testbed for our smart-grid concept and demonstrates how our Local Energy Market can make the best use of all renewable energies in Cornwall and help businesses as well.”

Cornwall Council has made a £3 million commercial investment into the wind turbine and will own and operate it once constructed.

Centrica has contributed £1 million in funding to the project and is responsible for constructing and commissioning the infrastructure that will connect the turbine to the grid and the LEM.

The site is less than half a mile from the existing 20MW Carland Cross wind farm.

Other key schemes of Cornwall Council’s Carbon Neutral Cornwall programme are the 8,000-hectare carbon-absorbing Forest for Cornwall the Whole House Retrofit Innovation project to make homes more energy efficient; a new, climate change planning document to promote renewable energy including the commitment to power all new homes with alternative sources to gas; and a new decision-making framework to prioritise environmental and social benefits in all Council policies.

It is also a key investor in two, pioneering deep geothermal heat and power projects at the Eden Project and at United Downs near Redruth and it was also the first local authority to develop its own solar farm.

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