Local authorities could play a key role in creating a mass market for renewable heat technologies, suggested Andrew Cooper, a Green party councillor for Kirklees. As councils have large amounts of housing stock, they could move the renewable heat market forward quickly if they invested in the technology. Social housing could “get the market moving for the private sector”, he said, but political leadership was required to overcome the risk-averse nature of local authorities. Alan Simpson, adviser to Friends of the Earth and a former MP, said the UK had to look at emulating the German model for financing and installing these technologies. “Success in Germany is driven around prompt delivery, de-complicating the process and de-risking it,” he said. The Germans are driving a growing economy on reduced energy consumption, but the delivery vehicles are de-centralised, he said.
The government has allocated £2.1m for renewable heat network projects across England and Wales to help local councils recycle excess heat from industry. Twenty-four local authorities, including Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds, and Newcastle city councils, will receive a share of the funding designed to slash carbon emissions from the UK’s domestic heat sector. Climate Change Minister Greg Barker confirmed the latest funding round for councils, including awards to Bath and North East Somerset, Blaenau Gwent, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend, as well as Cornwall and Devon. Westminster City Council, Camden, Hackney and Merton London Boroughs will also receive a share of the funds. The money will be used to create heat networks that can transport heat recovered from industry or from waste to energy projects to provide heat and hot water to local homes and business.
Rochdale Borough Council could develop the UK’s first publically owned solar farm in an attempt to become Britain’s greenest local authority. Councillors have green-lit plans for officers to look into the benefits of installing a 250kW ground-mounted solar array on council-owned land. The Council has earmarked a one acre site of contaminated land behind the town’s leisure centre to host the array.
Nottingham is planning two large solar panel “canopies” on top of two car parks which will earn the City Council thousands of pounds. On Wednesday councillors approved plans for the first solar array at Queen’s Drive park and ride scheme which will generate £121,000 a year for the Council.
AROUND £1 million of council taxpayers’ money is to be spent setting up an energy company – the first of its kind in the country. More than 177,000 households across Notts could soon benefit from cheaper energy bills – saving up to £120 a year, it is claimed – when the new firm is set up by Nottingham City Council. The council says it will run its company on a non-profit making basis to do battle with “the big six” energy firms. The current plan is to launch the scheme next year – with a high-street shop, call centre and other staff leading to the project becoming a potential “million pounds plus” scheme.