Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

06.11.17

Harnessing your energy potential

Vicky Kingston, strategic director for energy at Local Partnerships, a joint venture between the Treasury and the LGA, considers the role that councils can play in the success and future expansion of the energy sector.

Local authorities play a pivotal role in the development of regional energy resilience, lowering household energy bills and improving business competitiveness.

Delivering these objectives and ensuring that benefits can be realised locally can present a significant challenge.

Whilst there is increasing recognition by local authorities of the integrated nature of energy policy objectives, significant opportunities to achieve corporate goals are being missed unnecessarily.

Energy policy needs to be linked to the council’s overall priorities for the true potential to be understood and the benefits realised. Those benefits run across a wide range of areas – from revenue generation and cost saving to housing development and regeneration, and economic growth and new jobs.

In the context of environmental challenges, the phrase “think global, act local” is highly relevant to councils which seek to address poverty and improve carbon performance. As a major supermarket chain says: every little helps.

Many local authorities have sought to replicate the projects they see others pursuing. But these may not be the best projects on which those authorities should focus, so the effort – and money – may be wasted.

In recent years, I have seen two main causes of project failure: a lack of internal buy-in, and a lack of integration or consideration within existing council plans. These have resulted in project delay, cancellation and increased costs.

There is huge potential for local authorities to deliver on a range of energy projects, and these run across three primary areas. The first is energy consumption – by reducing spend on energy supplied to council-owned buildings, for example. Second is energy supply, where councils can become a fully licensed or white label energy supplier to residents and businesses. The third is perhaps the most novel and innovative: energy generation. Councils can use assets they own, such as land and buildings, to generate local power from natural sources and create income. It can take imagination and persistence, but there is support available to make the journey much smoother.

The first step toward success is for local authorities to understand the corporate drivers affecting the delivery of integrated energy projects. This must be at both a council and regional level, with specific delivery opportunities identified.

Where energy is considered and integrated at the early stages, local authorities reap the benefits. Cambridgeshire County Council is one such authority. It has developed an integrated energy strategy that ensures projects are clearly linked to council objectives. Of vital importance is that non-energy-led projects consider the effects of energy infrastructure, resilience and local benefit during the planning stages.

To support councils through this process, Local Partnerships developed a new integrated assessment and management toolkit, the Energy Assessment and Strategy Tool. This gives councils a helicopter view across all their services and functions, helping identify where climate and energy considerations could feature as a priority. Authorities can tap in to expert, on-site support to review existing project pipelines and consider additional projects to deliver against multiple strategic objectives. Councils may then identify specific opportunities, encourage activity and create a portfolio of projects, as well as explain supporting factors.

At Local Partnerships, we work only for the public sector. Our combination of expertise and knowledge of the public and energy sectors supports local authorities to create a robust strategy and programme of opportunity. This allows them to realise their full potential, and to succeed.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Up to 2,500 homes on the way as part of York Central development proposals submitted

14/08/2018Up to 2,500 homes on the way as part of York Central development proposals submitted

Around 6,500 jobs and a 20% surge in the local economy are expected after landmark new plans were submitted for planning permission in York. ... more >
Fight against Dorset merger ends as Christchurch council accepts defeat

14/08/2018Fight against Dorset merger ends as Christchurch council accepts defeat

Christchurch Borough Council has agreed not to take its legal fight to the Court of Appeal following the refusal of its Judicial Review applicati... more >
Social housing green paper only small step compared to ‘huge need’ for affordable homes, LGA says

14/08/2018Social housing green paper only small step compared to ‘huge need’ for affordable homes, LGA says

The government’s social housing green paper is “only a small step” in delivering more social homes says the UK’s largest ... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
Fight against Dorset merger ends as Christchurch council accepts defeat

14/08/2018Fight against Dorset merger ends as Christchurch council accepts defeat

Christchurch Borough Council has agreed not to take its legal fight to the Court of Appeal following the refusal of its Judicial Review application, with leader Cllr David Flagg apologising for t... more >
At-risk Leicestershire councils team up to evaluate ‘rushed’ merger plans

30/07/2018At-risk Leicestershire councils team up to evaluate ‘rushed’ merger plans

District and borough authorities at risk of being axed due a potential merger into a unitary authority have declared that they will adopt a “collaborative approach” for the future of ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Don’t horse around! Council finds new home for house-bound pony

13/08/2018Don’t horse around! Council finds new home for house-bound pony

A council that took four years in a legal wrangle to remove a pony from an Isle of Lewis house may have found the four-legged beast a new home. Western Isles council removed Grey Lady Too – a Connemara pony that was taken into the home by pensioner Stephanie Noble on Christmas Eve in 2011 – from its residence in 2014 because i... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

A new era of opportunity for the north

13/08/2018A new era of opportunity for the north

It’s time to stop seeing transport investment as a nice-to-have: it’s a cut-through catalyst for growth in sectors across the north. ... more >
Council mergers: little gain, less democratic

13/08/2018Council mergers: little gain, less democratic

Dr Linze Schaap, associate professor at the Tilburg Centre for Regional Law and Governance, and Dr Niels Karsten, assistant professor at the Tilb... more >
Creating a council cloud-first approach

13/08/2018Creating a council cloud-first approach

Georgina Maratheftis, programme manager for local government at techUK, makes the case for wider adoption of cloud technology by local authoritie... more >
The strength of districts

13/08/2018The strength of districts

Cllr Isobel Darby, member lead for quality of life at the District Councils’ Network (DCN) and leader of Chiltern District Council, shares ... more >

interviews

Modern policing: the future is bright

06/08/2018Modern policing: the future is bright

SPONSORED INTERVIEW The public sector, and policing in particular, has often been criticised as being slow to adapt to change. But now, says L... more >
Michael King: Time for Ombudsman reform

06/08/2018Michael King: Time for Ombudsman reform

Michael King first joined the Local Government Ombudsman service back in 2004 as deputy ombudsman. At the start of 2017, he was appointed as the ... more >
Helping a city understand itself

06/08/2018Helping a city understand itself

SPONSORED INTERVIEW The urban landscape is changing. How can local authorities keep up with citizen behaviour? Stephen Leece, managing directo... more >
Data at the heart of digital transformation

03/04/2018Data at the heart of digital transformation

SPONSORED INTERVIEW Grant Caley, UK & Ireland chief technologist at NetApp, speaks to PSE’s Luana Salles about the benefits of movin... more >

public sector focus

View all News