The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) publishes today the latest in a series of reports which considers how local authorities are continuing to progress various aspects of decentralised energy. (1) It also gives a new list of best practice examples from around Britain, following on from the many examples in its previous report. (2)
It comes at a time when concerns over increasing carbon emissions remains, and it supports the important role in energy policy local government can provide. The report notes that local authorities across the globe are showing an increasing interest in energy. For example, in June 2016 the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, which represents more than 7,100 cities, and more than 600 million people, agreed to work together in an unprecedented alliance to tackle climate change. A number of very prominent cities have also pledged to move towards sourcing 100% of their power from clean energy like Paris, Sydney, Vancouver, Salt Lake City and San Diego. (3)
The NFLA report focuses on how Councils can promote local energy projects in a challenging financial environment. It notes research and advice by the Association of Public Sector Excellence and the Solar Trade Association on how to unlock finance to fund renewable energy, district heating and energy efficiency projects.
It again focuses on some excellent examples of decentralised energy best practice, such as:
- Forest Heath Council’s solar farm in Suffolk has been built with the Council’s capital reserves.
- Swindon Borough Council has developed an innovative council solar bond receiving £2.4m from more than 800 investors in just six weeks.
- Hounslow Council has become the first to build battery storage into its solar power schemes.
- Bristol City Council has signed a Power Purchase Agreement to develop green energy on the Ashton Gate sports stadium.
- Portsmouth City Council is rolling out solar schemes worth up to £10m on its council buildings between 2016 and 2020.
- Neath Port Talbot Council is leading a project to put solar PV and battery storage on thousands of homes across south Wales.
- The Isles of Scilly ‘Smart Energy’ project is expected to cut electricity bills on the islands by 40% by 2025.
- Stirling Council completed its 1,500th installation of solar PV.
- Glasgow City Council has recently fitted solar PV on seven primary schools.
- The ‘Energise Barnsley’ scheme aims to fit solar PV and battery storage on 5000 council homes over the next few years.
- Camden, Islington and Waltham Forest Councils have joined together for the ‘24/7’ solar project to test the benefits of storing energy in households and reduce electricity bills.
- A large number of schemes are being developed in the likes of Fife and Berwickshire to develop wind turbines to fund social housing.
The report concludes with the ongoing positive development of Council Energy Companies, specifically Nottingham’s Robin Hood Energy, but also in the likes of Bristol and Cheshire East. A number of councils like Leeds, Liverpool, Wirral, Leicester & Leicestershire are also developing ‘white labelling’ arrangements to develop energy projects with existing energy companies, which they hope to extend as energy companies for the Council in the longer-term.
NFLA Steering Committee Vice-Chair Councillor David Blackburn said:
This briefing shows that local authorities are continuing to develop renewable energy, energy efficiency, district heating and battery storage despite the challenging environment that exists within energy policy. NFLA firmly believes decentralised energy is an important component part of delivering a reduction in carbon emissions, producing local power for communities and new income for hard pressed Councils. I urge the government that emerges in Westminster, along with devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as the Republic of Ireland Government to provide support and encourage such schemes. What is interesting to me is that Councils of all political shades are developing these projects. They are an important and popular way to reinvigorate local government and literally bring power back to the people. I commend those Councils who have moved in this direction and this new report encourages others to do the same.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(2) NFLA Policy Briefing 152 on decentralised energy http://www.nuclearpolicy.info/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/A265-_NB152_-Decentralised-energy-best-practice.pdf
(3) Climate Progress 23rd June 2016 https://thinkprogress.org/thousands-of-cities-from-six-continents-just-agreed-to-work-on-climate-change-e68e919774ae