Fowey’s plans to become a beacon community, leading the way in the delivery of community-owned renewable energy projects, have taken a major step forward as Fowey Renewable Energy Enterprise (FREE) prepares to update the wider local community of its plans on Saturday (28th April).
A drop-in event at the Town Hall between 11 and 3pm will give locals a chance to view the group’s proposals for installing renewable technologies at ten sites across the town, for which ten planning applications have been submitted and community feedback is requested.
FREE’s innovative approach to bring about real practical change in their community includes plans to install solar PV panels on the roofs of Lankelly Rugby Club, Fowey Primary School, Tregaminion, Menabilly Barton and Penhale Farms and raised framework mounted PV panels at Squire’s Field car park, under which cars will be able to park, offering the potential for an electric car plug-in point in the future. An installation of PV panels integrated into roofs of sheds at the new allotments proposed for the town is also part of FREE plans, along with small wind turbines at Lescrow Farm and land at Lower Penhale Farm.
The community co-operative received an important boost in February when it secured a grant of £64,000 from the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s Local Energy Assessment Fund (LEAF). The funding enabled FREE to work with the Cornish social enterprise Community Energy Plus to further develop their plans and commission appropriate reports and draft agreements for individual sites in the town in order to submit planning applications to Cornwall Council.
The grant also enabled FREE to develop a new website (freefowey.org.uk) and commission a Climate Change impact study for Fowey from the University of Exeter, the findings of which will be presented at 12pm and 2pm at the event on Saturday by Dr Tristan Kershaw.
FREE member Christine Wharton commented: “We held an exhibition of our initial ideas last October and were delighted with the positive feedback we received from the local community so we really hope that people will drop-in to see how we’ve developed plans for sites across the town and let us know what they think about. If we succeed in our ambition to create community-owned sources of power we will also be able to generate an income for the community to spend on other projects and we’ll be welcoming ideas on suitable projects at our event on Saturday.”
Neil Farrington, Sustainable Energy Projects Manager at Community Energy Plus, who has worked closely with FREE over the past two years to develop their plans, said: “FREE is now well on its way to achieving real practical change for the town to reduce its environmental impact. If all of the proposed projects are brought to fruition the technologies will generate around just under 605,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, which will meet almost 10% of Fowey’s local electrical demand, making an important first step in Fowey’s journey towards a more sustainable future.”