The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) publishes today a comprehensive and detailed report providing the many different ways Councils from across England, Scotland and Wales are delivering projects, developments, policies and strategies at the heart of a decentralised local energy revolution. Such developments show the pivotal role local authorities can play in cutting carbon dioxide emissions and mitigating climate change.
The NFLA / No2nuclearpower.co.uk report is one of the major actions from the ‘Beyond Nuclear’ conference held in March 2016. This commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and the 5th anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. Developed by NFLA Policy Advisor and energy policy expert Pete Roche in cooperation with the NFLA Secretariat, the report outlines in detail 30 leading examples from around England, Scotland and Wales leading the way in developing local decentralised energy. (1)
Amongst the highlights of the report are:
- The Energy Service Companies developed by Nottingham and Bristol Councils, with many other councils like Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Greater Manchester not far behind.
- The decision by the Greater London Authority to hold a special ‘licence lite’ to supply electricity.
- The extensive district heating networks of Aberdeen, Southampton and being developed for Greater Manchester Councils.
- The pioneering work in Fife Council to develop hydrogen-powered Council vehicles.
- The ways Islington Council is capturing waste heat from the London Underground to power homes.
- The development of houses, schools and Council buildings to exacting zero carbon ‘Passivhaus’ standard by the likes of Exeter, Wolverhampton, Norwich and Kirklees Councils.
- The innovative ways Shetland Island and Western Isles Councils are developing energy companies and other projects to tackle high levels of fuel poverty in smaller island communities.
- Lots of examples of Councils supporting or partnering with community energy cooperatives.
The report concludes that these case studies are a small fraction of the extensive work going on in many Councils who see decentralised energy as a positive way to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change, as well as tackling climate change and potentially a long-term form of new income amidst the deepest levels of cuts in the history of local government.
NFLA calls on the UK Government to reverse the deep and retrograde cuts to solar and wind subsidies which have complicated or curtailed the growth of new local energy schemes. Even so, many Councils are still moving forward on the most exciting local energy projects since the nationalisation of energy took place in 1948. With support from the UK Government and the Governments in Wales and Scotland, and new devolved arrangements in England, NFLA believe this energy revolution can play an important role in delivering low carbon energy and help to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.
NFLA is also publishing a parallel report that considers the energy policies taking place in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This shows the fantastic potential that exists on the island of Ireland to follow similar policies and take advantage of the copious amount of renewable energy sources on the island. Both Governments need to move quickly to develop a policy framework to deliver decentralised energy and unlock the potential of Irish Councils following the examples of local authorities across the Irish Sea shown in this NFLA report. (2)
NFLA Chair Councillor Ernie Galsworthy said:
This NFLA report comprehensively shows that Councils are delivering dynamic projects across all aspects of renewable energy, district heating and energy efficiency. This report gives just 30 of the most exciting and dynamic examples, but there are many more. There remains a huge appetite in local government to take leadership in delivering energy solutions to reduce carbon emissions, mitigate climate change and find new and innovative forms of income.
I call on the UK Government to move away from its obsession with new nuclear and fracking and embrace this local energy revolution. With further support from the Scottish and Welsh Governments and the new devolved entities in England a structure could be put in place which could see the UK follow the great examples of the likes of Germany, Denmark and Austria in using decentralised energy as a key solution for developing a low carbon energy system. I commend the Councils mentioned in this report for their dynamism and fortitude in the midst of crippling cuts from central governments. I hope many other Councils can take inspiration from this report.”
For more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on either 0161 234 3244 or 07771 930196.
Notes for editors:
(1) The NFLA report, NFLA Policy Briefing 152; is attached with this media release and can be found on the NFLA website home page http://www.nuclearpolicy.info
(2) The report looking at Irish energy futures, NFLA Policy Briefing 151; is also attached with this media release and can be found on the NFLA website home page.