Summary

The Cornwall Sustainable Energy Partnership is an innovative cohesive sub-regional approach to addressing the social, environmental and economic issues of energy supply and demand. Since 2001 the partnership has brought together over 50 key organisations to develop policies and active sustainable energy programmes. It has particularly concentrated on promoting the social benefits within an integrated energy policy. Member organisations include all the Local Authorities, Health Trusts and Housing Associations, plus business organisations, community, renewable energy and energy efficiency organisations. Its work covers Cornwall in the South West Region of the UK. The Partnership has four task groups and a strategic steering group and evidences its success through programmes such as the West of Cornwall Home Health Pilot (see results section below) that delivers energy and heating measures to homes in deprived areas. Its main funding source is an allocation of government funding via the Energy Saving Trust.

Results

The Four Task Groups have been engaged in the following activities:

Business Sector Task Group This group is currently preparing an application for Objective One funding for an environmental management advisory service to be aimed at energy, waste, water and transport and resource efficiency in Cornwall's 19,000 Small and Medium Enterprises, which make up the majority of businesses in Cornwall. Funding has been obtained for a small team of SME energy advisers for Devon and Cornwall. A strategy for business support has been written with the help of key business partners in Cornwall, such as: Cornwall Enterprise, Objective One Business Task Force and Business Link. These, and other partners such as the Environment Agency and Global Action Plan, are part of the team writing the Objective One bid which will be submitted early 2004.

Domestic Energy and Health Task Group This group initiated the Home Health Scheme, a practical programme delivering energy efficiency and cleaner, more affordable heating measures to homes in deprived sub-wards of approx 600 houses across Cornwall. Multiple funding sources and partner expertise have been utilised to: 1) create all-inclusive zones in which every household is eligible for assistance regardless of tenure or means testing; and 2) to provide additional training, advice and action on benefits eligibility, security, fire safety and crime prevention. A comprehensive referral mechanism facilitated by health professionals and community workers, has increased take up and public awareness of the measures, convincing vulnerable people who would not otherwise have participated, to take part. Project development began in April 2002, household surveys started in October 2002 and completion of two pilot zones was completed in March 2003. The success of the programme so far has confirmed the value of the sub-regional partnership approach. The surveyors reported that the community cooperation and referral system has made this the easiest area in the UK they have ever worked in; participation by GP surgeries is higher than elsewhere in the UK. The Programme is delivered in partnership with the British Gas here to HELP scheme.

In the UK the uniqueness of the programme is enhanced by its matching of nationally available funding to local regeneration funding. By 2006 it is expected that the financial investment into the Home Health programme will exceed 6 million euros. The programme has been working in five deprived sub-wards in West Cornwall. It is planned that from 2004 - 2006 another seven to nine sub-wards in West Cornwall and up to eight in Central and East Cornwall will benefit from the scheme.

The Domestic Energy & Health Task Group is made up of representatives from each local authority, Primary Care Trust and Housing Association.

Public Sector Task Group This task group has been identifying and promoting good energy practice and a policy within local government, health trusts and other public sector organisations, as well as looking at ways to standardise the performance indicator targets between the organisations. It is developing a programme of training to ensure that energy policy is delivered across all departments of each public sector organisation.

Renewable Energy Task Group This group has worked in conjunction with Cornwall County Council to produce a joint brief for a research report aimed at educating and informing planners, elected members, architects and developers on the social, environmental and economic benefits of developing renewable energy schemes in Cornwall. This 'Planning Guidance' document has been used to inform the Cornwall Structure Plan and is now in its final consultation phase. It will be used as a delivery mechanism for the Cornwall Sustainable Energy Strategy that is also undergoing an extensive period of consultation and development. Both the Planning Guidance, and other documents that are being used to assist with the completion of the Strategy by Spring 2004. The research will be used to inform other sub-regional policies, strategies and plans and assist with the delivery of the SW Regional Energy Strategy, as well as individual planning decisions.

The Renewable Energy Task Group is made of public and private sector organisations. It currently has two working groups attached to it:

  1. The Bio Energy Group
  2. The Education Working Group

The Bio Energy Group commissioned a research document called Biomass in Cornwall; an assessment of opportunities, completed in June 2003. This can also be accessed from the CSEP website.

The Education Working Group has been set up to progress the coordination of energy related educational activities in Cornwall. In September 2003 an application for funding for a full time energy advisor to work for three years in schools alongside the advisory team from the local education authority was lodged with one of the UK's Research Councils. Camborne School of Mines will be launching new renewable energy courses in Autumn 2003.

The CSEP office has been involved in a number of wider activities in addition to coordinating and supporting the work of the four task groups. For example:

  • In October 2002 CSEP organised a consultation on the Strategic Framework for the Development of Renewable Energy in the South West on behalf of the RDA.
  • CSEP are currently working in conjunction with Cornwall County Council to facilitate the production of an Energy Strategy for Cornwall. This will be launched in the early summer of 2004.
  • CSEP has written the proposal and set targets up to 2006 for Cornwall County Council's Sustainable Energy Public Service Agreement. If the targets are met, this will generate substantial government funding for future sustainable energy work in Cornwall. This target has been accepted by the UK Government
  • The partnership was pleased to assist one of its member organisations, Penwith Housing Association, to receive the first grant from the UK's Governments Clear Skies Scheme for the retrofitting of Ground Source Heat Pumps into social housing.
  • In May 2003 the Partnership won its second UK national award for its work with disadvantaged communities
  • In July 2003 the Partnership hosted an extremely successful conference: Towards A Sustainable Energy Future for Cornwall - integrating the social , economic and environmental agendas.
  • In October 2003 the partnership is hosting a Wave Power seminar to discuss the use of the huge wave resource off the coasts of Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly
  • In October 2003, the manager of the Partnership, Tim German, was invited by the Prime Minister to visit 10 Downing Street, 'in recognition of work to protect the environment and promote sustainable development.'

Energy saved - CSEP has laid the strategic foundation for achieving significant energy savings across the sub-region, as well as achieving actual savings through its project and advice work.

Energy produced by renewables - funding applications are in progress. CSEP's policy work will facilitate the future development of renewable energy projects, speeding up the planning process.

Economic benefits - the Task Groups' work on improved energy efficiency in the domestic, business and public sectors will save money and stimulate the local economy.

Environmental benefits - One of CSEP's objectives is to stimulate the development of cleaner sources of power generation, especially those from renewable sources and combined heat and power.

Jobs created - 9 full-time jobs have been created to date.

Behavioural changes achieved - CSEP has already changed attitudes and increased interest and knowledge in the area, drawing attention in particular to the social benefits of sustainable energy. Take up of energy efficiency grants by local communities has been increased as a result of the referral and community consultation work pioneered by the partners of the Home Health scheme.