Suffolk County Council has been called on take urgent action on both ending fuel poverty and moving to a low-carbon energy future, following research into the environmental and financial costs of energy generation.
Councillors from the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group have submitted a motion to be debated at the next Council meeting on 18 October, calling on the council to lead the way to a clean, smart and low-carbon energy future for the county. The motion also requests a report into the potential for a smart grid in Suffolk, and asks the Council to commit to a 50% target for renewable energy use by 2025.
Cllr Andrew Stringer, proposer of the motion, commented:
“This is a really timely motion, given the UN’s report released yesterday which warns of an impending climate change catastrophe. Fossil fuels are a key contributor, yet here in the UK we continue to use coal and gas to generate our electricity.
It is vital that we move towards a low-carbon energy future, I can’t stress the urgency enough. Here in Suffolk we’re always talking about our desire to be the Greenest County – now’s our chance to really lead the way and develop some exciting clean energy projects.”
Research from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has highlighted the hugely variable costs of energy production in the UK, with renewable sources cited as some of the most affordable. A pilot project in the Orkney Islands has effectively used a combination of renewable energy sources, smart grids and storage facilities to drastically lower the cost of electricity and pull people out of fuel poverty.
Cllr Stringer added:
“Our research has shown the huge variation in costs for electricity. Clearly, this isn’t just a ‘green’ issue. The benefits of a low-carbon energy future span both environmental and financial.
Anybody concerned with fuel poverty should be able to recognise the value of moving towards renewable energy sources, and smart grids are a vital component of this. We have a real opportunity here to empower the poorest in our society and lift them out of fuel poverty.”