Scottish cities hailed as solar leaders in new report urging decentralisation of energy

Scotland comes out with top marks as councils look to revolutionise local energy

THE SCOTTISH CITIES of Glasgow and Stirling have been praised for their unique solar initiatives and as “local energy leaders” in a new report by the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) association.

Both cities were cited this week as key examples in a report urging governments across the UK to decentralise their energy networks to ensure security and sustainability for the future,

Using the Scottish cities as good examples, the report looks at Stirling Council, which has completed 1,500 installations of solar mechanisms and Glasgow City Council (GCC), which recently fitted a set of solar panels on seven primary schools in the city.

The report also calls for the development of more Council Energy Companies (CEC), such as Nottingham’s Robin Hood Energy, but also local energy companies set up in Bristol and Cheshire East.

“We firmly believe in decentralised energy as an important part of delivering a reduction in carbon emissions, producing local power for communities and new income for hard pressed councils." David Blackburn

NFLA steering committee Vice-Chair Councillor David Blackburn said: “These examples and the whole briefing shows that local authorities are continuing to develop renewable energy, energy efficiency, district heating and battery storage despite the challenging environment that exists within energy policy.

“We firmly believe in decentralised energy as an important part of delivering a reduction in carbon emissions, producing local power for communities and new income for hard pressed councils. I urge the government that emerges in Westminster, along with devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as the Republic of Ireland Government to provide support and encourage such schemes.

“What is interesting to me is that Councils of all political shades are developing these projects. They are an important and popular way to reinvigorate local government and literally bring power back to the people. I commend those Councils who have moved in this direction and this new report encourages others to do the same.”

GCC committed this year to fitting seven primary schools in the city area with solar panels which will have a combined capacity of 350kWp. In April, Campbell & Kennedy installed and connected the solar systems.

A spokesperson from GCC said: “This project will enhance the council’s commitment to the sustainability and resilience of these schools whilst providing a practical teaching resource for pupils.”

“I commend those Councils who have moved in this direction and this new report encourages others to do the same.” David Blackburn

Stirling Council has completed the 1,500th installation of solar panels on its existing housing stock this year in a move to use renewable investments to alleviate fuel poverty and reduce the council’s carbon footprint.

More than £8 million has been spent on delivering the solar rollout and the council has now committed to investing an additional £4.25 million over the next two years to install solar on an additional 1,200 homes. 50 homes in the area will also feature battery storage technologies as a pilot scheme over the next two years.

The two cities are being used as examples of locally driven investment and energy enterprise as opposed to nationally led renewable schemes. 

A firm based in Fife called Living Solutions (LS) has started using surplus energy from wind and solar power sources to run a fleet of hybrid vans supplied by a local company called Bright Green Hydrogen (BGH).

The Levenmouth Community Energy Project based in Methil, Fife is a project supported by Fife Council and Toshiba and is the first project of its kind in Scotland to use green hydrogen to fuel a fleet of hybrid and electric vans on the road.

Picture courtesy of minoru

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