Last January, I reported that Cabinet approved the proposal to establish a Salix De-carbonisation Fund of £1million to fund a range of energy saving initiatives on the County Council’s corporate built estate. The fund comprised a £500,000 allocation from the remaining £1.1million of County Council funding identified for energy saving initiatives with match funding of £500,000 from Salix.
On 7 January 2021, the council have released details of the current status of its climate change strategy, starting with a reminder of the scope;-
- Corporate buildings
- Street lighting
- Business travel
Their original carbon reduction target for 2025 was 40% of 2010 levels. This has now been revised to 50% of 2010 levels, with 47% having been achieved by 2020. This has been achieved by;-
- Some street lighting lamp conversions,
- LED lighting replacement in buildings
- Reduction in offices
- Boiler controls
- PV installations
- Building energy performance programmes
All projects were cost neutral as investments were paid back through energy savings.
On 30 September 2020, The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), launched a Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. As before this will be delivered via the Government agency Salix. The scheme offers £1bn funding for all public sector bodies to make buildings more energy efficient and to decarbonise heating.
So far, £26.9m has been awarded to the County Council and another £6.4m awaiting grant funding. A grant of £3.6m has been applied for, to convert oil-fired boilers to gas on 17 sites. Remembering that domestic gas fired boilers are to be banned from 2025, conversion to natural gas (methane) seems a few steps short. However, it is recognised that this will reduce carbon emissions and the piping needed will make the infrastructure hydrogen ready for whenever Government decides to scrap the national natural gas network.