Britain’s first Energy Shop has opened with the aim of making buying low-carbon energy as simple as stocking up on the weekly shop.
Tim Smit, chief executive and co-founder of the Eden Project, declared the shop at Wadebridge in Cornwall.
The Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN) is behind the initiative and planned the opening at the town’s shopping centre to coincide with the first night of late night Christmas shopping.
The Energy Shop will offer a range of services and energy-related products for local people, including:
· Low carbon goods and devices will be for sale, and relevant items from other Wadebridge shops will be featured.
· 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.
· 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.
· Clinics from experts on energy-related issues, such as cheaper tariffs, electric transport and ways to reduce fuel poverty.
· Energy-related art and information exhibitions.
· The Energy Shop will also provide office accommodation for WREN staff, volunteers and partner businesses and a meeting space.
Mr Smit, said: “It’s very exciting for us at Eden to have the first renewable energy shop opening in Wadebridge, run by people we hugely admire.
“They have shown the power that community action can exert and this has seen a big growth in the adoption of renewable energy solutions professionally delivered in the area.
“Their example, we hope, will spread like wildfire as the technologies are understood not to be faddish but part of what we hope will be the new normal.”
The store offers a range of services for local people to pop in and talk about their energy needs and learn about ways to keep homes warm at low cost to the pocket and environment.
Stephen Frankel, chairman at WREN said the shop would make it easier for local residents to buy energy.
He said: “We 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. 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.”
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, added” “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.”