Local authorities across the UK are beginning to take control of their own energy future and are starting to invest in decentralised networks that bring down prices, improve energy security, cut carbon and make communities more prosperous and resilient. The scale of the challenge is huge, but so is the opportunity. Public bodies all around the country are looking into what decentralised energy can do for them. If every local authority in the UK with a potentially viable scheme found a way to bring that project to market then we would trounce all current targets and predictions.(1)
For more information about what is happening around the UK, read the Nuclear Free Local Authorities August 2014 Briefing: Development of Local Authority Energy Service Trusts/Companies – part of the answer to a new energy revolution?
For instance almost 3,000 council houses in Wrexham have been fitted with solar panels;(2) Dundee Council is installing insulation and district heating in multi-storey blocks;(3) Leicester City Council has established a 25-year partnership with Cofely District Energy to install district heating throughout the City including six housing estates;(4) Nottingham City Council and Evo Energy have signed a deal to install 8,000 solar panels on council buildings across the City; (5) Bristol City Council is hoping to become the UK’s “solar capital”, with a view to installing 1GW of solar power by 2020.(6)
All Cumbrian local authorities could start by carrying out an audit of council property, including council houses, schools, and land, to assess the potential for renewable technologies. A programme of investment could then be drawn up with a view to achieving a target of 100% of buildings to be provided with some form of low and zero carbon technology by 2050.
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) has been highlighting work by two Dunbartonshire councils to identify where savings can be made on street lighting. This work is now being used as the basis for a business case by other Scottish authorities. Dumfries and Galloway Council is rolling it out a programme over the next eight years and, in doing so, will save millions of pounds.(7) COSLA has also published information on how local authorities can fund energy efficient street lighting.(8)
Glasgow City Council plans to convert its 70,000 streetlights to LEDs by using a new loan scheme from the Green Investment Bank (GIB).(9) Hartlepool Borough Council is proposing to replace all of Hartlepool’s 13,644 street lights with LEDs in a 12-month scheme.The council says the scheme, which it is estimated will cost £5 million, will save the authority between £400,000 and £550,000 a year on its energy bill. (10)
In Cumbria street lighting may fall under the responsibility of the Highways Agency, Carlisle City Council or Cumbria County Council. Carlisle and Cumbria should initiate a study with a view to implementing a similar programme to Dumfries and Galloway and Glasgow Councils with funding from the Green Investment Bank.
- Guardian 17th January 2013
- Housemark 23rd January 2013
- Dundee Corier 9th January 2013
- Renewable Energy Focus 12th December 2012
- Construction Index 3rd October 2012
- Business Green 16th October 2013
- Oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee on 20th February 2013
- COSLA’s Supplementary Evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee, 2013.
- Herald 5th Feb 2014
- Lighting 10th October 2013