In December 2014 we announced the 16 winners of energyfund Cornwall. A year later, we looked back at what impact £300,000 of grant funding can have. Despite a challenging year which saw a change in government lead to the stripping back of funding and support for renewable energy, along with announcements from Western Power Distribution that there will be no new grid connections offered for large scale renewable energy projects for the next 3 to 6 years, our recipients made staggering progress.
With both development and capital funding available for community organisations across Cornwall, energyfund Cornwall will continue to unlock benefits for local people for many years to come.
The fund has already had a measurable social impact with organisations making the most of the savings on their energy bills and additional revenue from FiT and RHI payments by carrying out further energy efficiency improvements, offering reduced rentals, business support, adventurous activities, sports coaching, and youth and community training across Cornwall.
We also saw our first Feed-in Tariff funded tennis coach as Menheniot Sports Associations funded one of their youth tennis players to complete a vital coaching qualification using the money they made through their first FiT payment.
The funding also led to feasibility studies being carried out in 5 areas of Cornwall, as well as the creation of Bude Energy Community (BECo), the Wadebridge Energy Company (WEC) and the development of “Powering-up Community Groups in Cornwall”.
This consists of a training programme to guide community groups through the necessary governance structures, planning process, community engagement activities, procurement and delivery of renewable energy projects, including the mechanisms for claiming the feed-in-tariff and ring-fencing community benefit funds for future generations.