Work starts on £6.5m energy centre project
WORK has started on a £6.5million flagship project which will put Torbay at the forefront of a housing revolution.
Students will be studying pioneering building techniques at the new Energy Centre near the Premier Inn off Long Road in Paignton, and businesses will be able to create and learn the new technology and how they can create jobs locally.
The first students have already started their courses and the first two staff appointments are being made.
The hope is the centre will lead the way when it comes to getting and creating some 400 jobs to help cut fuel bills in homes and premises across the South West.
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The South Devon College centre will provide research and development facilities for companies, with the opportunity to collaborate with universities in Exeter and Plymouth.
They will have to look no further than a new house being built next door to see how energy use can be minimised. The PassivHaus uses building techniques including air and heat re-circulation so that only minimal heating/cooling is needed.
Mayor of Torbay Gordon Oliver cut the turf after £2.5m European Regional Development Funding was confirmed.
At the ceremony, college principal Stephen Criddle said this funding adds to the £1.2m from the Regional Growth Fund and £2m from the Skills Development Agency together with the college's own funds.
He said: "We are indebted to the ERDF, as well as all the other funders, who are enabling us to create such an exciting and important project which will play a major role in growing the low carbon sector in the South West."
There will also be incubation space for new businesses in the energy sector offering expert support on hand, he said.
The mayor said: "In a few years' time we will be paying £10 for a gallon of petrol; we need new technologies to heat our homes and conserve energy.
"This centre is at the forefront of new developments — the time is right, and I look forward to seeing this wonderful centre in action."