Bodmin sewage is now being treated at a plant powered by community-owned renewable electricity.

Julian German (Cornwall Councillor and Portfolio Holder for Economy and Culture) and Alex Steel (Chair of Lanivet Parish Council) were present on a sunny 8th September to cut the ribbon at the formal opening of a 100kW solar array built by WREN, working together with South West Water, to power Nanstallon Sewage Treatment Works. The ceremony was attended by WREN Chair Professor Stephen Frankel, WREN Operations Manager Dominic Comonte, and South West Water Renewable Energy Engineer Ray Arrell. Further representatives of WREN and South West Water also attended, along with other organisations who have played a part in the project.

Cornwall Councillor Julian German cuts the ribbon. From left to right: John Catchpole (WREN), Olly Frankland (RegenSW), Leonie McGregor (WREN), Jerry Clark (WREN), Mike Galligan (South West Water), Dominic Comonte (WREN), Steve Ford (Cornwall Council), Stephen Frankel (WREN), Mike Davies (South West Water), Cllr Julian German, Kevin Smith (WREN), Richard Alexander (WREN), Ray Arrell (South West Water), Sam Angwin (WREN), Paul Martin (Low Carbon Society), Alex Steele (Chair, Lanivet Parish Council), Josh Bower (Clean Earth Energy), Amanda Pennington (Wadebridge Town Councillor and WREN). Photo by Lizzy-Jane Frankel.

Mr Comonte outlined the history of the project and thanked the organisations involved, most notably South West Water, but also Regen SW, CleanEarth Energy which constructed the array, Energyshare and Naturesave Trust which provided grant funding, and Cornwall Council and The Low Carbon Society for their significant loan.

Mr Arrell said “A key element of our renewable energy strategy is to work with community groups such as WREN on sustainable energy projects, which will reduce our electricity costs and our carbon footprint. Delivery of this project is a first for South West Water, and we are now engaging with groups in other localities to replicate it.”

Councillor German said; “Cornwall Council is committed to ensuring the benefits of locally produced renewable energy – which are environmental, financial and improved energy security – come to the residents of Cornwall.”

The array, constructed under contract by CleanEarth Energy Limited, a Wadebridge company, consists of 392 panels and covers half an acre of grade 3b land right next to the sewage works.

WREN technical director, Jerry Clark, said, “The array is the first asset within Wadebridge Energy Company with plans underway to add to the portfolio over the coming months. Community ownership of renewable assets marks a significant step forward for the local area.”

Wadebridge Energy Company is a not-for-profit community benefit society established by WREN and a share issue is being planned so that local people can own a part of it. The remainder of the funding comes as a loan from The Low Carbon Society Limited, for which Paul Martin presented a cheque at the event. Wadebridge Energy Company will use the revenue from the solar panels to pay a return to its shareholders, cover operating costs and expenses (including loan interest and repayments), and pass any surplus to WREN to finance further projects or contribute to the community fund. There will be a specific sum earmarked for projects to benefit Nanstallon residents.

Dominic Comonte (left) receives the The Low Carbon Society cheque from Paul Martin (centre) with Ray Arrell (right)


15th September 2015