A £7m boost to support Bristol as European Green Capital 2015 has been announced by the government. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said the money would “enable Bristol to fulfil its potential”. The money will support a range of projects including an annual award for the best new clean technology and a series of summits on climate change. Bristol is the first UK city to be named as European Green Capital since the award was launched in 2008. Mr Alexander said the money would help to “generate millions of pounds of new green investment”.
The Greater London Authority (GLA) is in the process of becoming the first organisation in the UK to secure a new kind of “junior” electricity supply licence that will allow it to trade all the small heat and power generation produced by boroughs across the capital.Energy for London will initially buy power from small-scale generators owned by London boroughs and public bodies and then sell it on to Transport for London and the Metropolitan police. First it must appoint an established power operator to help manage the systems. Eventually London plans to generate 25% of its own energy from local schools, hospitals and businesses.
Argyll and Bute Council has appointed Campbell & Kennedy’s energy division, CK Energy, to install solar on eight schools across Argyll and Bute. The solar schools project is designed to help the council acheive its commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 20% and fossil fuel reductions by 12% by 2014. Last year, the council identified the eight schools as suitable projects to receive solar PV against its investment and key benefits criteria.
GLASGOW City Council want to build nine new wind turbines across Glasgow to help cut the city’s annual £26million energy bill.
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.
Community renewables finance manager, Empower Community has received a £10.1 million loan from a UK institutional pension investor. The 20-year loan will be used to install, or acquire solar arrays for 2,300 homes and six commercial buildings in Sunderland. The arrays will also be managed by Empower Community. The 2,300 homes to benefit from the loan are part of social housing provider, Gentoo Group who provides community care, construction and solar installations. Thousands of tenants will be able to use free solar generated electricity in their homes, reducing bills by up to 40%.