In England, the Smart Cornwall Business Development project led by the Cornwall Development Company has released the preliminary results of the UK’s first fully integrated smart energy system.
In the initial development stages of the project, the Cornwall Development Company commissioned local independent energy consultancy Community Energy Plus to conduct research in order to establish market and investment baselines for the local smart energy systems sector and to explore cross-sector adoption of smart energy solutions.
The overall aim of the Smart Cornwall Business Development project is to develop the UK’s first mainland smart energy ecosystem, which will deliver intelligent and efficient local energy supplies through the use of renewable energy and smart grid technology locally by 2020.
In an earlier statement, Chris Ingram, chair of the Smart Cornwall Steering Group, stated: “Between 2015 and 2020 we will focus on delivering a world class smart energy test bed. And by 2020, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will be established as a centre of smart energy expertise and innovation with a leading position in the global market.”
In 2014, local utility companies began testing smart energy technologies. Western Power Distribution for example started its rollout of smart grid technology to help make the Isles of Scilly energy self-sufficient.
Local and international involvement
The project has attracted participation from local energy groups, such as Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN), as well as universities and colleges conducting research into smart energy technologies.
The Cornwall Development Company in future would like to establish Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly as the location for Europe’s first centre for smart energy research, testing and standards.
The project’s board has also been working with international organisations and solutions providers to create mutually beneficial relationships in terms of smart energy investment opportunities.
Some of the beneficiaries of the project include Green Acorn, who as a result of the Smart Cornwall Business Development project, is offering the UK’s first ever commercial charging solutions for electric vehicles in Cornwall.
Contract and consultancy firm Wheal Jane Group has established a business park, home to the county’s first solar array. There are also plans for a future hydro-electric scheme.
Independent professional construction consultancy Ward Williams Associates (WWA) have several projects and programmes to integrate "smart-thinking" into commercial developments. These include reviewing commercial properties' potential for smart energy.
Matthew Vowels from Cornwall Development Company said: “The Smart Cornwall Project has brought many organisations together to create a strategic network, which has provided the foundations on which to design future, realistic and targeted delivery activity with support from the new [European Stuctural and Investment Fund] ESIF Growth Programme.
He added: “Cornwall is at the forefront of the UKs renewable energy industry and the Smart Cornwall Project has developed new collaborations and identified several new investment themes to offer continued support to its evolution.”