UK’s Lincolnshire county council has set an ambitious target to reduce its energy costs and carbon emissions over the next five years. The council has already achieved a reduction of 9% in its carbon emissions and now plans to cut the emissions further, by 22% by 2018. The council hopes to save up to £7 million every year by 2018.
The council adopted the Carbon Management Plan in 2006–07 through which it had aimed to reduce its carbon emissions by 20% by March 2012 from the 2006–07 baseline. Some of the measures that had been identified to reduce emissions included implementation of energy efficiency measures in buildings; car-sharing programs and increased use of public transport; use of biodiesel in fleet vehicles; and use of biomass for heating purposes. Together, these steps have the potential to save over 5,100 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
Schools account for two-thirds of the energy consumed in the council. The council’s energy bill has increased from £3 million in 2007 to £10 million in 2011. During this period, the energy distributors increased energy prices significantly.
Some of the measures being considered to reduce energy consumption in schools include using energy-efficient lighting systems, optimising use of street lights, and use of solar panels to generate electricity.
The council has already funded a £500,000 project to install solar PV power systems at 16 fire stations across the county. The project would save £100,000 per year in energy costs. All these proposed measures could help the council reduce its emissions by over 14,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year.
The actions proposed by Lincolnshire county council are similar to those that had been implemented and discussed by other counties across the UK. The UK Committee on Climate Change has urged local authorities to do more to reduce their carbon emissions. The UK has a legally binding target to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 from 1990 levels. David Kennedy, the committee’s chief executive, stated that the local authorities have a critical role in achieving that target. The committee calculates that collective action from the local authorities can result in the reduction of carbon emissions by up to 15 million tonnes per year, or approximately 3% of the UK’s carbon emissions.
Another reason for these measures is the increase in carbon emissions by almost all the local authorities in the UK. Between 2009 and 2010, 97% of the local authorities reported increases in their carbon emissions. Only 12 of the 406 local authorities reported falls in their carbon emissions in 2010. This was a complete reversal from the situation in 2009 when only 4 local authorities reported increases in annual carbon emissions.
The views presented in the above article are the author’s personal views only.
Mridul Chadha currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.