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Tim Smit to open the UK's first renewable energy shop

Date: 5 Dec 2011

Britain’s First Energy Shop

Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN) is bringing Britain’s first Energy Shop to The Platt in Wadebridge, and will open triumphantly on Friday December 9th on the first night of the town’s annual late night shopping. Tim Smit KBE, Chief Executive and Co-founder of The Eden Project, will declare the shop open at 3pm. With the festive season upon us, there will be live music in the shop and mince pies until late.

Chairman Stephen Frankel, said, “The WREN Energy Shop will be simply the shop window for making energy-related activities as commonplace as posting a parcel, buying groceries, going to the hairdresser, bank, pub or newsagent. Our town is spending about £10 million on energy, but it can seem hard to get a grip on that as energy can be everywhere and nowhere. The Energy Shop will be there to help people take control of their own energy, and help Wadebridge benefit from the low carbon economy by turning energy from a cost to an income.”

The Energy Shop will offer a range of services for local people to pop in and discuss their energy needs. They can:

• Join the not-for-profit cooperative if they want to contribute to decisions and be kept informed of initiatives.

• Hear about the WREN community fund, and how to apply for support (£5000 is currently on offer).

• Obtain information about renewable generation in a variety of technologies, including referrals to WREN’s panel of recommended providers.

• Benefit from the ‘Warmer Wadebridge’ programme to reduce energy costs through insulation or obtaining free energy monitors.

• Information will be available on Green Cornwall initiatives, including advice from expert groups like Community Energy Plus.

• There will be clinics from experts on energy-related issues, such as cheaper tariffs, electric transport and ways to reduce fuel poverty.

• There will be energy-related art and information exhibitions.

• Low carbon goods and devices will be for sale, and relevant items from other Wadebridge shops will be featured.

• The energy shop will also provide office accommodation for WREN staff, volunteers and partner businesses, and a meeting space.

The Energy Shop is a collaboration between WREN and its commercial partners. Founder of Plug into the Sun, a leading Cornwall energy company, Andy Tanner, said “It is very exciting to be supporting WREN. I have been working in this field for about twenty years, and my dream has been to bring these technologies into the mainstream. Wadebridge is showing people how easy it now is to take control of your own energy, and we are delighted to be a part of that shift in understanding.”

WREN board member Harriet Wild says, “We want to work with the town to save money, help increase our resilience against the rising costs of fuel and work towards becoming a greener place to live. Therefore, the Energy Shop is the perfect way to engage with local people. Through local PV panels installed, we’ve already raised £5,000 which we’re looking to give to a community group in the area. This will be WREN’s first cheque for Wadebridge, with many more to come.”

Julian German, Cornwall Council's portfolio holder for waste management, climate change and historic environment, said "Cornwall Council is delighted to have been able to support WREN in achieving the Energy shop. We wish them every success."

Jeremy Leggett, Founder and Chairman, Solarcentury, said: "WREN is clearly leading the way in community energy. It's fantastic to see such persistence as the government fails to realise the significance of community scale energy generation. Congratulations to Stephen Frankel and Wadebridge for their vision and persistence, something we need to recognise and emulate across the country as a matter of urgency. Here at Solarcentury, we wish them all the best success."

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