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Cornwall provides template for global Net Zero energy system

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With the spotlight being turned on Cornwall this week for the meeting of the G7 at Carbis Bay Resort, Centrica has urged world leaders to look no further than the county for the answers to Net Zero energy.

The #CopyCornwall initiative highlights the progress made in Cornwall towards Net Zero energy.

It has been a leader in renewable energy since the UK’s first commercial onshore wind farm was built at Delabole in 1991. More recently, the country’s biggest trial of flexible energy trading was completed last year, with over 200 homes and businesses participating.

Over three years, Centrica’s £16.7 million Cornwall Local Energy Market saw 310MWh of power traded successfully, with greenhouse gas savings of nearly 10,000 tonnes a year as a result.

As part of the trial, five megawatts of low carbon technology was installed across more than 100 businesses and a further 100 homes received a combination of solar panels and wall mounted battery storage. The stored capacity of the home battery systems was combined to form a Virtual Power Plant and, when aggregated, was able to trade with the grid operators, completely autonomously. Some businesses saved as much as 35% on energy costs by operating at times more aligned with grid needs.

“Without the ability to store renewable energy… we will extend our reliance on fossil fuels and our path to Net Zero will be more costly.”

James Rushen, Group Head of Environment at Centrica

As part of the Local Energy Market project the UK’s first smart turbine, able to make small adjustments to its output to support grid stability and make peaks in demand smoother, was developed and installed by Cornwall Council at Ventonteague in 2020.

Energy storage linked to large scale renewables has been implemented at Carland Cross windfarm thanks to a successful joint venture between ScottishPower Renewables and Centrica. The 1MW battery energy storage system connected to the ten turbines on site is helping balance electricity supply and demand locally.

Finally at Wave Hub, the world’s largest and most technologically advanced open access site for the testing and development of offshore renewable energy technology, a 1MW battery has been installed that will provide energy resilience to the Wave Hub site and the local grid.

James Rushen, Group Head of Environment at Centrica, said, “Our trial in Cornwall proves that homes and small business have a vital role in meeting Net Zero. Without the ability to store renewable energy when the wind blows and the sun shines for less productive days, we will extend our reliance on fossil fuels and our path to Net Zero will be more costly. Cornwall provides a blueprint for the future and leaders need look no further than the beautiful county that is hosting them this weekend for the answers to their domestic energy challenges.”

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