Cornish Farmers Take Eco Trip

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Austrian renewables success could be repeated at home

Sixteen bright sparks representing Cornwall’s agricultural industry are fully charged with ideas, after an Austrian study trip gave them first-hand experience of some of the world’s leading renewable energy schemes.

The trip to Wels, near Linz, was the third and final leg of the Renewable Energy Study Programme, organised by Cornwall Enterprise and the Cornwall Agri-food Council to discover how different kinds of cutting-edge renewable technology might be replicated on farms here in Cornwall.

In particular, this tour focused upon successful biomass energy schemes, where local farmers use chipped and pelletised wood to provide heat and power for their nearby villages.

Nicky Garge of Cornwall Enterprise said:

“Renewable energy is an important growth area for farms, but the range of technology can be bewildering. This trip has given local farmers a practical chance to see some of Europe’s leaders for themselves, and find out which models might work best at home in Cornwall.”

While in Austria the group, which included farmers, landowners and public sector managers, joined 950 participants from over 61 different countries at the World Sustainable Energy Days; Europe’s largest annual renewables conference.

Other site visits during the trip included Linz Solar City; a biomass plant on the Danube supplying heat and green electricity; and Gasokol, one of the leading producers of solar thermal panels.

The Solar City Project is an integrated solar village of 1,300 households. Individual homes are built to make the most of the lie of the land, with greenhouses, winter gardens, balconies and orientations that benefit from the climate and nature surrounding them. Solar installations make the neighbourhood completely independent and even allow it to return a surplus to the city’s energy grid.

Now the study programme, part-funded by the Learning & Skills Council, has concluded, the team is working to follow up on actions that arose from individuals on the different tours. Economic models are being drawn up for using Anaerobic Digestion on different sizes of farms throughout the county, which will allow other farmers to estimate how this approach might work for them.

John Berry, managing director of Cornwall Enterprise, said:

“Thanks to this programme the Cornish agriculture sector can gain a real edge in the environmental economy, and add to the economic wellbeing of Cornwall.”

Farmers who would like to find out more about renewable energy generation should contact Nicky Garge of Cornwall Enterprise on 01209 616094 or [email protected]

Notes for editors:

  • Cornwall Enterprise is the economic development service for Cornwall County Council and its mission is to achieve sustainable prosperity for Cornwall. It provides a range of services to support economic growth, co-ordinates and enables partnerships and helped develop the county’s economic development strategy.
  • The Cornwall Agri-food Council Development Team is an Objective One funded project, hosted by Cornwall Enterprise. It is designed to create a team of dedicated personnel tasked to assist the agricultural, horticultural, food and land based industries access Objective One funds.