Thursday, 9 December 2021

Harnessing Cornwall’s Natural Resources

In Cornwall, we are privileged to have access to a beautiful landscape with a wealth of resources and have a rich history of leading the world in new and innovative technologies. Many of these were highlighted with G7 being held in Cornwall earlier this year and Climate Change dominating much of the agenda.

Climate change and environmental concerns more widely have risen the agenda in recent years. Fifteen years ago, David Cameron made it a central part of his agenda when the Conservatives first came into office in 2010. Now, following COP-26 in Glasgow and the G7 in Cornwall, the UK has a firmly established place as a world leader on Climate Change and the goal of Net-Zero.

Historically, Cornwall has an important place in this country’s industrial development with Camborne and Redruth being two of the wealthiest towns in the land at the height of the copper and tin mining eras. Camborne, in particular, was home to Richard Trevithick who invented the steam locomotive and epitomised the contribution made by Cornwall to the Industrial Revolution. Today, we are continuing this tradition by helping the whole country in cutting emissions and establishing a pathway to protect our precious environment for future generations.

Across Cornwall, there are several businesses across Cornwall that are working hard to create new, green industries that sustainably make use of our natural resources. From harnessing the ideal conditions with floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea to reviving the Cornish mining industry at South Crofty and United Downs- where there is some of the highest-grade tin and lithium in Europe.

The first deep geothermal power project in the UK is here in Cornwall at United Downs. Geothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL) is a small Cornish company that has successfully proved the concept by drilling two deep wells, one to bring the naturally hot water to the surface and the other to deposit the used fluid back underground. Geothermal electricity is known as baseload, because it is generated 24/7 regardless of the weather at the surface, balancing out the peaks and troughs of other renewable energy sources.

This week, I am visiting United Downs to meet with GEL to discuss some of their potential future projects across West Cornwall. While I am very supportive of Geothermal Power and harnessing some of Cornwall’s natural resources in a sustainable environmentally friendly way, any work must be carried out with the consent of Cornish residents. I look forward to hearing from GEL about what they are doing to address any concerns highlighted by residents.

Nonetheless, it is clear that Cornwall is in a unique and historic position. With the right support from the government and some innovative thinking, we are developing into the Green Energy capital of the UK and could well play an important role over the course of the next decade.

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