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06.11.17

Delivering an integrated housing market

Cambridgeshire is one of a small number of local authorities leading the way with the development and delivery of an integrated energy strategy, write Sheryl French and Cherie Gregoire from the county council.

Cambridgeshire council’s ambitious Corporate Energy Strategy will change the way services are designed. More importantly, this will change the way buildings and land assets are managed to generate income, reducing energy usage and carbon emissions.

The council made a conscious step change towards energy sustainability and self-sufficiency, demonstrating that local authorities can lead by example through altering the way energy is supplied and used.

This has resulted in over £20m investment to date in a range of energy-saving retrofits and renewable energy projects across schools, council land and buildings.

In 2014 Cambridgeshire County Council used the National Re:fit Programme to procure energy services to support delivery of their Mobilising Local Energy Investment programme.

Fundamental to this procurement was the guaranteed savings mechanism which shifts design and performance risk into the private sector.

The council schemes will achieve over one million tonnes of CO2 savings over their lifetime and produce significant cash benefits.

Examples of projects delivered

A 12 MW Solar Farm in Soham: A £9m upfront investment by the authority and a ‘Contract for Difference’ with the Low Carbon Contracts Company generating income for the authority. The solar farm scheme will generate electricity for the equivalent of 3,000 homes and £1m revenue.

A planned Smart Energy Grid at the site in St Ives: Solar panels will be installed on canopies above the cars to generate 1 MW of electricity and will be used to power highly efficient LED lighting, support electric vehicle charging. Additional energy will be stored and sold to local customers.

Cllr Josh Schumann, the county council’s Commercial & Investment Committee chairman, said: “St Ives Park & Ride is a great asset, next to the Guided Busway and the town centre to pilot a Smart Energy Grid.

“This innovative type of technology is part of many projects the council is looking at to develop its assets to reduce costs and generate income to support our services. 

“We expect this project and its concept of generating, storing and selling energy locally to be widely replicated and become business as usual in the future.”

The council’s ambition is to keep investing in sustainable energy security for the region, with more projects currently being scoped.

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