NZCom LogoThe Government, Cornwall Council and our local councils have declared 'climate emergencies', with 'Net Zero' carbon target dates variously of 2030 and 2050, but what does that really mean?

What are ‘net zero’ carbon targets and how do we all play our part?

Broadly, net zero means being as energy efficient at possible at home, work, school and when we’re out and out about, whilst maximising our use of renewable energy sources and off-setting or balancing any unavoidable emissions by measures that actually remove CO2 from the atmosphere. But when you try to get into the detail, you run into all sorts of questions and concerns such as the potential costs of switching to low carbon heating. At the moment we don’t have all the answers and are working through the challenges together.

WREN's amazing new project, Net Zero Community, or NZCom for short, aims to determine what is necessary for a community like ours to achieve net zero carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and show how everyone in the community can make the transition to a net zero carbon future, not just those who can afford to. If we can find something that will work for us, it may well then work as a model for others – certainly across towns and rural communities in the UK, if not necessarily in the big cities.

No one really knows what net zero looks like at a community level, so WREN is pioneering once again – and we cannot do it without your help.

We have held several workshops with a focus group to hear views and concerns, and there have been several meetings with an advisory group of experts and stakeholders. The future changes will affect us all and we want to make sure that nobody is left behind.


Available Now for UK Communities: The Future Energy Tool

See Also: A Guide for Communities

NZCom Plan Oct 2022

 Project Partners


National Grid Logo Oct 2022

Net Zero Community (NZCom) is funded by National Grid Electricity Distribution (formerly Western Power Distribution), the electricity network distribution operator in the Southwest, through its Network Innovation Allowance. National Grid - Vulnerability and Energy Networks, Identification and Consumption Evaluation (VENICE)

It forms part of a wider project called VENICE (Vulnerability and Energy Networks, Identification and Consumption Evaluation) which has three strands:

  • NZCom - led by WREN
  • SMILE (Smart Meter Identification) - led by Frontier Economics
  • Vulnerable Customers and COVID - led by Frazer Nash


WREN has engaged with other organisations to deliver NZCom.

 WREN logo words medium sizeWREN itself will provide effective project planning & management throughout the project lifecycle to achieve & provide evidence of achievement of objectives. This will be led by Technical Director Chris Coonick.
WREN is also responsible for obtaining effective and timely community input into project research and disseminating project outputs, led by Community Engagement Director Simon Miller. This will be done through a Project Advisory Group, Community Focus Groups and other engagement mechanisms.


The other partners in NZCom are:


New NZCom organogram Jan 2023 Exeter logoDr Iain Soutar is a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Exeter Penryn Campus in Cornwall. He is leading the development of local scenario narratives for NZCom to articulate plausible energy futures, as a basis for exploring options for new technologies, business models and institutional arrangements.

Dr Xiaoyu Yan is a Senior Lecturer in Energy and Environment at the University of Exeter Penryn Campus in Cornwall. He is leading the development of a carbon accounting methodology for NZCom to qualitatively compare impacts and community scale energy efficiency and low carbon technology interventions.


Planet A Logo

Planet A Solutions CIC is a social enterprise based in Par, Cornwall, working exclusively to alleviate the climate emergency in the interests of the Global Community, which invests 50% of its profits back into schemes that help protect against climate change. Planet A will identify complementary technologies, systems, and approaches to deliver optimal holistic outcomes to reach net zero carbon in the Wadebridge and Padstow network area by 2050 that positively support vulnerable customers.


CEP Logo

Community Energy Plus is an award-winning social enterprise that provides complete energy answers to help householders in Cornwall enjoy warmer, energy efficient homes as part of a more sustainable future. It is based in Truro, Cornwall. CEP will develop community-led business models that have the potential to deliver socioeconomic benefits. It will understand and adapt the Net Zero Communities proposal to accommodate the needs of vulnerable energy customers to ensure that none are left behind in the energy transition.

NZCom organogram Oct 2022 


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