Pioneering plans for a new renewable power energy centre at Langarth Garden Village are given the go-ahead

By Cornwall Council - 13th January 2021

The decision of the Council’s Strategic Planning Committee to grant permission for a new renewable power energy centre to provide low-cost green power for residents is a significant milestone for the Cornwall Council-led Langarth Garden Village scheme. 

The new renewable power energy centre, which will play a key role in delivering the Council’s climate change strategy, could ultimately see around 20 megawatts of green energy generated at Langarth as part of the projects developing energy strategy to provide low-cost green power for residents.  

The Energy Centre will provide a central hub for electrical power to the site, bringing together on-site and off-site renewable energy. It will be connected to the grid, giving both security of supply and allowing excess generation to be exported. 

At the core of the Energy Centre is a new primary substation with a capacity of 24 MVA. Provision is also made for battery storage, which will maximise the use of renewable energy on site for the benefits of residents and local businesses. A new dedicated circuit to the main substation at Shortlanesend will also relieve pressure on the local grid.  

Heat pump technology, higher levels of insulation and solar panels will be used to power and heat homes, offices and other buildings at Langarth Garden Village, with electric vehicle charging points provided for every home. Together these measures will deliver net zero carbon homes with low running costs for residents, as well generating an income from the sale of surplus power back to the grid. 

In an addition to the original scheme, the energy centre will also be used to support the development of the new £100m Women and Children’s hospital building, and other planned improvements on the Royal Cornwall hospital site.  

Explaining that without the new infrastructure there had been the potential for a delay to the major building programme underway on the Treliske site, RCHT’s Chief Executive Kate Shields said the additional capacity provided by the Langarth energy centre would help ensure that the Trust’s ambitious plans are delivered on time. 

“We said at the start of the project that we wanted to create a new way of living at Langarth,” said Tim Dwelly, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and the Economy.   

“This means designing a sustainable new community that is adaptable, resilient and fit for future living. 

“We have worked closely with adjacent landowners and stakeholders in the planning process. By ensuring a greater use of renewable energy created and used on site and increasing capacity to support the future use of electric vehicles, the new energy centre will play a key role in helping Langarth, and the Council, to move away from carbon dependency.  

“The creation of the new energy centre will not just benefit future residents at Langarth, however. 

“I am particularly pleased that the project will support the development of the hospital site, as well as reinforcing the supply of power to Truro, and look forward to seeing these ideas included in other new housing sites across Cornwall.” 

Located next to the park and ride, the centre will include a transformer compound to house the electricity substation together with a bespoke battery storage area which will provide storage for green energy produced on the site for residents.  

Buildings and compounds will be surrounded by a combination of stone gabion walls and planted green walls. In keeping with the project’s green Garden Village ethos, wild flowers and trees will be planted around the site to enhance biodiversity and provide a variety of natural landscape features.   

A new pedestrian footpath will connect the existing quiet lane to the park and ride and there will also be a viewing platform looking north over the energy centre, with descriptive maps of the garden village. Information boards and educational opportunities will be provided to describe the role of the centre and help people understand how future communities will be powered.  

The project team is also investigating the possibility of providing solar panels on car ports on the proposed park and ride extension, as well as on other buildings and offices across the site, and exploring the potential of district heating using geothermal energy as a renewable source of heat. 

We have worked closely with adjacent landowners and stakeholders in the planning process. By ensuring a greater use of renewable energy created and used on site and increasing capacity to support the future use of electric vehicles, the new energy centre will play a key role in helping Langarth, and the Council, to move away from carbon dependency.  

- Tim Dwelly, Cornwall Council
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