Helston is to investigate whether it is possible to create it's own 'green energy' in the future.

The town council, in consultation with the Helston Climate Action Group, has been developing a bid to the Rural Community Energy Fund, to cover the costs of an initial feasibility study into the potential for new renewable energy and energy storage facilities in the Helston and Lizard area.

The proposals being looked at include rooftop and ground-mount photovoltaic cells (solar panels) and pumped and battery storage.

The initial study will look at whether it will be possibly to install enough equipment to be viable and create surplus energy that could be used by community projects and activities.

It will also find out if there is enough community support from residents and landowners, as the funding criteria states that at least 50 per cent of the equipment is owned by the community.

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The current bid is for just over £38,000 for the initial work into the study of how feasible such a project would be in Helston. If the signs are good then a second bid would be made for up to £100,000 to cover the cost of more detail worked needed to develop the proposals into an investible project.

Helston projects officer Martin Searle told town councillors when they met on Thursday: "That's the beauty of this. It's not just going to be a private developer who puts in solar PV for profit. It will benefit the whole area."

It is part of the council’s agreement in the Helston Climate Action Plan and help towards Cornwall become carbon neutral by 2030.

Councillors agreed to commission a community outreach support contractor, working 17.5 hours a week from November 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021, who will work alongside Mr Searle to gather the necessary community information.

This will cost a total of £5,400 with £400 coming from the council’s Carbon Footprint Reduction Budget and the remaining £5,000 included in the grant request.

Anyone applying for the role will be told that it is subject to a successful grant application.

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The council also agreed to pay £1,500 from the same budget to support the cost of engaging with the community about the project, including printing, exhibition materials and dedicated website pages.

It was stressed in the meeting that if the grant bid was unsuccessful, neither of these amounts would be paid out.

Councillor Ronnie Williams believed the project needed "shelving for at least 12 months" when the country's financial position might be clearer, but Mr Searle said one of the reasons it was being taken forward now was that they had been told funding for this stage may not be available in the next financial year - although if successful in this bid, money would be available for stage two.

Councillor Ron Edgcumbe said he would like to support it but it was "just too vague", with councillor Williams also voting against it and the remaining councillors voting in favour.