Transition Penwith was founded by Cllr Jennifer Gray in November 2006. It is part of a global movement initiated by the work of Rob Hopkins, who developed the first Energy Descent Action Plan (EDAP) in Kinsale, Ireland in 2004. Rob designed the EDAP in partnership with students from Kinsale Further Education College and the local community as a visioning tool that planned Kinsale’s pathway down from the oil peak.

His work was primarily informed by Richard Heinberg’s Power Down model and the work of permaculture founders David Holgrem and Bill Mollison. The EDAP model has since been adopted by communities around the world. Rob Hopkins moved to Totnes, Devon in 2005 and set up Transition Towns Totnes, as a way to initiate an EDAP in the Totnes community. Both Rob Hopkins and Richard Heinberg have been advisors to Transition Penwith.

One of Transition Penwith's long term objectives is to develop an Energy Descent Action Plan.