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.
For a video of the rotary blades being installed at the Ventonteague wind turbine please see here:
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 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’s innovative Cornwall 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.”
Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall’s Cabinet Member for climate change and neighbourhoods, said: “As we work on our Covid recovery we are placing the climate emergency at the heart of our plans and the 2.3MW of renewable energy to be generated at Ventonteague will count towards Cornwall’s ambitious plans to be carbon neutral by 2030.
“This initiative which will reduce Cornwall’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 3,300 tonnes a year is part of a suite of initiatives including investment into the United Downs and Eden Project deep geothermal power projects.”
Dan Nicholls, programme manager for the Centrica Cornwall Local Energy Market said: “Cornwall Council has been innovative in its approach to renewable energy over the last two decades. This turbine will be the first in the UK to demonstrate the concept of making small adjustments to the output in order to help smooth peaks and troughs in electricity supply and demand on the grid. Such flexibility will be incredibly important as society electrifies transport and heating, allowing us to rely more heavily on zero carbon sources of energy in the process.”
Launched in December 2016, the LEM programme is receiving £11.5m support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is a collaboration between Centrica, Western Power Distribution (WPD), N-SIDE, Imperial College, the University of Exeter and National Grid ESO.
The project brings Cornish homes and businesses together via a fully automated online flexible energy market platform.
The platform allows network operators, the organisations that run the electricity distribution and transmission networks, to improve the way the grid works by buying energy flexibility from local homes and businesses, helping to balance both grid demand and capacity.
Cornwall Council has made a £3m commercial investment into the wind turbine and will own and operate it once constructed.
Centrica has contributed £1m 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.
Cornwall Council has a track record in championing clean energy. Award-winning initiatives such as the Green Cornwall programme have driven forward major changes promoting community and Council-owned renewable energy projects and developing potential new forms of power in technologies such as deep geothermal.
It is 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.
For more information on the Cornwall LEM, visit: https://www.centrica.com/innovation/cornwall-local-energy-market