For media relations enquiries, please contact:

Communications Director:

Kevin Smith
Mobile No:    07595 530672
email:            kevin.smith@wren.uk.com

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Media Information

  • Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN) is a not-for-profit cooperative
  • WREN helps residents & businesses reduce their energy costs through energy management & generation, and works to produce local economic benefits, including jobs.
  • WREN generates income from energy projects for local benefit. WREN activities are projected in time to raise over £150,000 per year to be allocated to local projects or reinvested.
  • WREN was launched in January 2011
  • WREN opened the high street Energy Shop in central Wadebridge in December 2011
  • WREN has over 1,000 members
  • Wadebridge launched its own currency in 2012; ‘The Wren’
  • Wadebridge has been designated as the pilot site for Smart Cornwall, and is pioneering the development of the “Smart Market Town”.
  • WREN has set a target is to generate 30% of Wadebridge‘s electricity from local renewable resources by 2015
  • WREN’s core group consists of approx 30 volunteers including a board of 14
  • WREN’s principal geographic area of focus encompasses the parishes and wards of Egloshayle, St Breock and Wadebridge, extending out across the Wadebridge and Padstow network area

Background – WREN

  • WREN was founded in 2011 by a group of volunteers to bring the benefits of the low carbon economy to the area, as well as help residents and businesses reduce their energy costs.  As a social enterprise, owned by its members, all benefits above running costs go to community investment and community projects. 
  • WREN has an established Community Fund, with project funding decided democratically by the membership. In 2013, £5,000 was given to ten local groups with the main recipient being the Wadebridge Food Bank and StoreHouse Crisis Fund, to follow £5,000 given the previous year.
  • WREN operates a walk-in Energy Shop on the high street in Wadebridge which was opened by Sir Tim Smit. People can access a range of information on energy management and energy production from insulation, solar energy and biomass to electric cars, grants and local green events. 
  • WREN seeks to inform about and facilitate uptake of local and national initiatives and funding for energy.  For example, WREN is currently able to offer zero cost loft and cavity wall insulation, using funding from ECO (energy company obligation) and CSCO (carbon saving community obligation). It is also offering low priced LED light bulbs.
  • WREN is forming the Wadebridge Energy Company, a not-for-profit co-operative, to generate electricity locally for the benefit of local people, and we are looking for roofs. Any local person, business or community organisation with a suitable roof that has a solar panel system installed by the company will get as much of the generated electricity as they can use, free of charge. The company will take the electricity export and feed in tariffs. After paying shareholders, operating costs and other expenses, any surplus revenue will be added to the WREN Community Fund.
  • WREN is also working with South West Water and a landowner to install 100kW of solar PV to supply the Nanstallon sewage treatment works.
  • WREN is working to show that it is time to take control of our own energy and our own future. It is attracting national attention as it shows that the combination of local cooperation, renewable energy and smart grid technologies can bring economic benefits, as well as broader well-being, to this and any neighbourhood.

Aims

  • To turn energy from an individual cost into a collective asset
  • For all of Wadebridge’s energy to come from the town itself
  • To share the benefits of renewable Energy across the whole community, through the WREN Community Fund
  • Add to the quality of life and prosperity of the town
  • To reduce the amount of energy we, as a community, use
  • To reduce poverty, especially fuel poverty, in our area
  • Help explore ways to produce energy using sun, wind, waste & tide
  • To put Wadebridge at the cutting edge of renewable technology
  • To help Wadebridge produce it own inflation proof, cheaper energy
  • To evaluate what we do, in order to better understand and replicate things that work
  • To help Wadebridge become UK’s first renewable energy powered town