Duncan Price, director of sustainability at BuroHappold, said he was ‘hopeful that Cornwall will show us how to take a systems-wide approach and find those breakthrough innovations that will accelerate our transition to a new low-carbon economy.’
To continue developing what has been started, participants agreed they would need a way to carry on collaborating, discussing their experiences and sharing their learning, potentially beyond Cornwall.
‘Through the original Energy Island we sought to help Cornwall organise its energy independence. There were already many great initiatives, and the continued pace of coordinated change since then has been inspiring. We are very happy that we have been able to continue to support this shared goal.’
CEO, BuroHappold Engineering
Many places – particularly islands – are reliant on imported energy, leading to a flow of wealth out of the local economy, and reduced resilience. Cornwall – a peninsula, so not quite an island – is a region where this can be seen clearly.
Each year £1bn leaves the county in energy payments (nearly 15% of the region’s total economy). Rich in resources, but hit hard by the decline of its traditional industries, it currently qualifies for EU grants.
Reducing the amount of money leaving the county could help improve Cornwall’s economic prospects. If the county could produce more energy, consume less and sell the excess, it could balance supply and consumption to maximise benefits.
As Augusta Grand, head of policy at the Eden Project, explained, ‘Cornwall has incredible riches in renewable energy and ambitions to become a green peninsula. We want to work together to keep opportunities here in terms of economy, employment and environment.’
Cornwall has the potential to take a systems-wide approach, finding break-through innovations that could accelerate its transition to a low-carbon economy. It could show the rest of the UK the way.
Click here to find out more about the Energy Island project.