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Truro planning a renewable business park

Cornwall council has granted planning consent for a wind monitoring mast to be erected at a site near Truro, which is set to house several renewable energy schemes including a wind turbine and a biomass power plant.

The Environment Agency is backing the ‘Wheal Jane Masterplan', which aims to develop a sustainable earth science business cluster, incorporating a single wind turbine, two small-scale hydro-power schemes, ground source geothermal heating, a biomass power plant and a photovoltaic solar farm.

The ‘zero-carbon sustainable business park' will be located at a decommissioned tin mine at Wheal Jane, near Truro.

Commenting on the consent for the monitoring mast, director of marketing and property at the Wheal Jane Group, Bernard Ballard, said: "The monitoring mast is a temporary structure to gather data as part of the wind energy investigation on the site.

"Our work on the green energy plan as a whole is also progressing well."

According to the Wheal Jane Group, the site could be self-sufficient in its energy demands and will be able to export any surplus power to the national grid. The development will also include a number of zero carbon workshops and office buildings.

A key aspect of the project is to capitalise on the site's natural resources to generate its energy needs. The hydropower scheme, for example, will be powered by an existing waste water stream using the flow of water from the mine water treatment plant at Wheal Jane, which is operated by the Environment Agency.

Mark Pilcher, for the Environment Agency, said: "By supporting development of these renewable energy projects we are helping to limit and adapt to the effects of climate change, reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and help develop a low-carbon economy."

Operating the mine water de-pollution plant at Wheal Jane is energy intensive - often using seven large electric pumps running for 24 hours a day, claims the Environment Agency. However, by diverting the treated water discharge through a hydropower system, the lost energy can be recovered.

"This will create more green electricity to feed in to the national grid, reducing the amount of fossil fuel derived power which needs to be produced," added Mr Pilcher.