July 24, 2012

Ed Davey Launches Cornwall Together at the Eden Project

Fresh from arguing about energy policy with the Treasury up in Westminster, Ed Davey has popped down here to South West England to help launch Cornwall Together, which according to their web site:

Is a group of Cornish people, joining together to save money on their energy bills. Simple as that.

The event was recorded for posterity, as you can see:

Ed's speech is available in full on the Department of Energy and Climate Change web site. He started by saying that:

It’s absolutely fantastic to be here at the Eden Project, whose low-carbon credentials are impeccable. The world’s first eco car show. Plans for an 80% cut in emissions by 2020. And a new deep geothermal energy system, drawing heat from Cornish stone to warm the biomes and feed into the grid.

Eventually moving on to the matter in hand, Ed pointed out that:

I’m absolutely clear that getting more competition in our energy markets, and helping people take advantage of it, is vital. That’s why one of my top priorities after taking this job was to focus on collective switching and collective purchasing. Everyone here today knows that the way people buy energy – and who they buy it from – can make a real difference. But that message isn’t making out to the wider world. In 2010, we saw significant energy price rises. Wholesale energy costs soared, driving up consumer bills. Yet consumer switching rates fell.

I want the benefits of collective switching to be open to all communities. That’s why Cornwall Together is such a fantastic initiative. Not just because this is the first time a county has joined together to help people save. Not just because it’s coming from a new angle, by working with big employers in Cornwall, across sectors. Not just because it encourages people to think about more sustainable energy options. But also because this is the first collective switching scheme I’ve heard of that will actively target the hard-to-reach the households who most need help. And 1 pound out of every 10 generated will go into a fund for Cornish communities.

This scheme really is the first of its kind. And I sincerely hope it’s the first of many.

Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden Project, added that:

The idea is, what would happen if you persuade all of the people who consume energy to join together, all the big guys, all the little guys, and see whether the collective buying power of that group can then liberate a price for people who are in fuel poverty, so that they can benefit from us.

Kevin Lavery, Chief Executive of Cornwall Council, pointed out that:

If we're able to promote renewable energy over time we'll see a lot more jobs in Cornwall, and a lot more of the spend on energy staying in the county.

Finally note that according to the Cornwall Together web site once more:

Cornwall Together Limited is a subsidiary of Eden Project Limited. Cornwall Together Limited, Keo Energyshare Limited and uSwitch Limited are working together to deliver the Cornwall Together project to you.

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