The strategy, which follows the council’s Climate Emergency declaration earlier this year, details the local authority’s plans to become carbon neutral.
The council worked with leaders in the sector, APSE Energy and the Green Energy Task Group, to develop the strategy. It sets out the council’s ambitions to:
- Reduce fuel poverty in Warrington
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Improve security of energy supply
- Create opportunities for regeneration and economic growth, becoming a centre of excellence for the green agenda
- Achieve sustainability in the council’s operations
- Generate income to fund investments
Though the strategy details future plans to achieve carbon neutrality, the council’s green energy journey started some time ago.
Successful sustainability initiatives
In 2014, the council worked with Golden Gates housing trust, now Torus, to install more than 2,000 solar panels to former council houses, with electricity supplied to tenants. This work was followed by an investment in a solar farm in Swindon.
The council has also invested in solar farms in York and Hull which will provide the equivalent amount of electricity to power 18,000 homes. These farms will be used to power all council buildings, with the remainder of the electricity generated being sold to the grid or to other public sector organisations.
The local authority has also recently installed more than 3,000 solar panels at the Plastic Omnium building at the OMEGA site, alongside 60 electric vehicle charging points at the Time Square multi-storey car park.
Plans for the future
The green energy strategy details the council’s ambitions for the future, and acknowledges its intention to create or purchase an energy services company.
It also details plans to support Warrington’s Own Buses to invest in a green energy fleet and continue to replace Warrington’s street lights with LED bulbs, which are far more efficient.
The council also has plans to establish a social impact fund, with a focus on encouraging projects with long-lasting social impact to promote a step-change in reducing carbon emissions in the country.
Acknowledging the importance of improving carbon literacy – making people aware of the impacts of carbon dioxide and how they can play their part – is also a central part of the council’s green energy strategy.
Cabinet member for environment and public protection, Cllr Judith Guthrie, said: “Our green energy strategy is an important part of ensuring we are carbon neutral by 2030, following our declaration of a climate emergency in June.
“The strategy is ambitious, but we need ambition to tackle the climate emergency we face. It pieces together the work we’ve already done, alongside future opportunities to continue our green agenda.
“Although our green energy journey started some time ago, we still have much we want to achieve by 2030 and beyond.”