The Association of Nuclear-Free Local Authorities (NFLA) has published a 30-page policy briefing and guide to best-practice in developing local energy projects and supply companies to disrupt the dominance of Britain’s Big Six.
Containing examples from both north and south of the Border – including projects reported in Scottish Energy News – the NFLA guide will be sent to the UK energy minister and his counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
For example, Aiberdeen, Edinburgh and the Western Isles councils have all recently set up local arms-length energy supply companies to rival Big Six suppliers.
An NFLA spokesman explained: “The motivation for local authorities getting involved in energy is wider than just the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As large consumers of energy themselves high energy prices are having a big and negative impact on council budgets.
“By generating their own energy or reducing consumption, or encouraging community projects to generate energy and reduce consumption, they can bolster the local economy and generate revenue at a time of severe budget constraints.
“Decentralised energy and energy efficiency projects allow them to bring money into the local economy by making the most of grants and financial support available.
“Councils also want to assist residents suffering from fuel poverty. If low income families spend less on energy, they will have more money to spend in the local community, whilst their general health will inevitably improve.
Councillor Ernie Galsworthy, NFLA Chairman, said: “This 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.
“We 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”.
Developed by NFLA 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. For example;
- 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 to supply electricity.
- The extensive district heating networks of Aberdeen, Southampton and being developed for Greater Manchester Councils.
- The development of hydrogen-powered vehicles in Fife
- The ways Islington Council is capturing waste heat from the London Underground to power homes.
- 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.