London led the way last week on July 2 for local energy projects, with the city’s ‘solar together’ initiative joined by an additional eight borough councils. The total boroughs supporting the scheme are now at twelve, with residents and business within these boroughs able to purchase solar panels at a discounted cost. Registrations for the next phase of the scheme are open until 22 August. The scheme forms part of the Greater London Authority’s strategy for 1GW of solar by 2030.
Not to be left behind, Greater Manchester’s Energising Greater Manchester report was published on July 4 by the Association for Decentralised Energy and the Association for the Conservation of Energy. The report examines local low-carbon energy projects across the area. It reported that almost one million homes upgraded on energy efficiency and that 3% of the city’s electricity originated from locally produced renewables, rising to 9%. Local councillor and Greater Manchester Green City leader Alex Ganotis noted that this report was a key guide to achieving Manchester’s goal of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2040.
A similar report, the Smart Living Initiative, was published on July 4, which analysed eight projects across Wales and how they contribute to low-carbon goals. These included hydrogen heating and virtual private wire network initiatives. This report reviewed the progress of these projects in time for the next round of initiatives, and will provide policy lessons for the Welsh Assembly.
Somerset community energy groups launched a £4mn green bond to pay off its debts for a 9.3MW solar farm on July 4. The farm currently generates an annual revenue of £1mn. This green bond will allow the farm to pay off its debts and enable it to invest the surplus £3mn for community benefits over the lifetime of the project across 23 years.
Nestle also embraced local energy recently, opening its onshore wind farm in Dumfries and Galloway to power half of the company’s activities in the UK and Ireland on 4 July. The wind farm was developed with Community Windpower. A fund from Nestle will be used to benefit the local community, in areas such as education and the environment.
The UK government has allowed many small and medium sized businesses to take local innovation projects into their own hands, with the seventh phase of the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund being launched by the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on July 6. The £10mn competition aims for business to compete for innovation proposals to manage their energy use more effectively, and does include low-carbon solutions.
Energy Live News, BEIS, Association for Decentralised Energy, Centre for Sustainable Energy, Edie, ReNews