The City of London Corporation has announced that major sites across the capital city will be powered by a solar farm in Dorset, as public sector organisations look to find more sustainable energy solutions.
A provider of key public services such as running schools, social housing and open spaces, the corporation, in 2020, agreed a deal worth £40 million with an energy provider to purchase all of the electricity produced by the solar farm site. This will begin from the 1st January 2023 and is the first agreement of its kind in the United Kingdom.
Keith Bottomley, Chairman of the City Corporation’s Environment Committee, said:
“This scheme is a pioneering blueprint by the City Corporation for local authorities across the UK, cutting carbon emissions and giving cheaper, more secure energy, protected from the price volatility of energy markets.
“The deal will increase our green energy supply, has no reliance on taxpayer funding, and help us transition quickly away from fossil fuels.”
The site in Dorset holds over 91,000 star panels, with a capacity of 49.9 megawatts. That number is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of around 35,000 people and will help the corporation with the powering of all their sites, including the Guild Hall and the Old Bailey, whilst also cutting fossil fuel use, saving over £3 million in energy costs every year. It also runs side-by-side with the investment of over £800,000 worth of funding with companies within 25 miles of the scheme, helping to support local businesses.
This new deal is part of the City Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy, committing the corporation to reaching net zero operations by 2027, as well as achieving net zero through its investments and supply chain by 2040 and the achievement of net zero across the entire City of London in the same year. They will aim to achieve this through the investment of £68 million. Alongside this new agreement, the City Corporation has been sourcing 100% renewable electricity through infrastructure since 2018.