In 2019 Teignbridge District Council signed the Devon Climate Declaration and committed to prioritise decarbonisation and support the transition to a low carbon and resilient economy and society. This commitment included working with Devon’s residents and businesses to deploy more renewable energy systems.
Our local plan plays a critical role in achieving this commitment by including policies and allocations that enable, and are supportive of, low carbon energy generation. Without policies and allocations to support such development this will not be possible, as onshore wind turbines must receive support through a local plan.
Although Teignbridge has decarbonised by 26% since 2005, the majority of carbon emission reductions have happened as a result of decarbonising supplies of electricity originating from outside the district.
By generating low carbon electricity within the district, Teignbridge will be playing its role in de-carbonising the electricity supply grid. Without sufficient low carbon electricity, the expected increase in electric vehicles and heat-pump central heating in homes, will not deliver the required carbon savings to deliver a net-zero district.
As part of our Part 3 2020-2040 local plan review, we consulted with the Centre for Environment at the University of Exeter to develop a Low Carbon Study; the Study recommends policies supporting low carbon development, identifies sites for commercial-scale solar and wind development and quantifies the renewable energy resource of the district.
The Study identified a wind resource of 217 GWh and a solar resource of 771 GWh based on a constraint mapping exercice. In principal, the renewable energy resource approximates our future net-zero energy demand, which factors widespread adoption of electric vehicles and low carbon heating systems, and demonstrates significnat potential for the district to supply its own enegy needs.
The consultation on renewable energy policies will run from November 15th 2021 for ten weeks and close on January 24th 2022. The outcome of the consultation will feed into our updated local plan, which is due for adoption from 2024, subject to examination and approval.
To help ensure the appropriateness of proposals over and above the evidence provided by the Centre for Environment at the University of Exeter, we consulted a panel of renewable energy industry specialists on renewable energy polices and site allocations for wind turbines; we also sound boarded the proposals with Action on Climate in Teignbridge, our partner community group.
As a further step, we also commissioned a Sustainability Assessment to review the impacts of renewable energy developments on a range of themes not limited to climate change, heritage, leisure spaces and landscape character.