Conservatives refuse to commit to green energy targets in Suffolk

Conservatives on Suffolk County Council have today refused to commit to green energy targets, and revealed that they have signed off on a 100% nuclear energy deal for the next 3 years.

A motion proposed by Green councillor Andrew Stringer asked the Council to:

  1. Commit to ensuring at least 50% of the Council’s energy comes from renewables by 2025;
  2. Commission a report into smart grids and consider a pilot scheme in Suffolk; and
  3. Call on partners, including the LEP, to have a coordinated approach in moving to a clean, smart and low-carbon energy future.

However, a Conservative amendment to the motion removed all actions and commitments from the motion.

Cllr Andrew Stringer commented:

“I am very disappointed they felt the need to amend our motion – a motion which only asked for three very simple things.

The Tories have completely watered it down and removed any substantive actions or commitments. What’s left is simply ‘virtue-signalling. That doesn’t help anybody – what we need is firm, decisive action.

Given the urgency of acting to halt climate change, this Council ought to feel ashamed it couldn’t even commit to these three simple actions.”

During the debate, it was also revealed that Suffolk County Council has signed up to a 0% renewable energy deal which will take effect in March 2019 for three years. Astonishingly, this is a step backwards for Suffolk County Council, whose current energy contract includes 18.7% renewables.

 

Notes

The original motion read:

“Data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy highlights the hugely variable costs relating to energy production in the UK. For projects starting in 2015, levelised cost estimates ranged from £162/MWh for Open-Cycle Gas Turbine to £62/MWh for Onshore Wind.

This Council acknowledges the costs associated with energy production, and the benefits, both financial and environmental, of moving to a low-carbon energy future. These benefits include the alleviation of fuel poverty.

Suffolk, in its aspiration to be the Greenest County, should be leading the way to this future.

This Council therefore calls on all partners, including the New Anglia LEP, to have a coordinated approach in moving to a clean, smart and low-carbon energy future.

Further, this Council resolves to commission a report into the potential for the implementation of a smart grid in Suffolk and will endeavour to run a pilot.

Finally, this Council will do all in its power to ensure that at least 50% of all energy use in the council will come from renewable sources by 2025.”

 

The amended motion read:

“Data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy highlights the hugely variable costs relating to energy production in the UK. For projects starting in 2015, levelised cost estimates ranged from £162/MWh for Open-Cycle Gas Turbine to £62/MWh for Onshore Wind.

This Council acknowledges the costs associated with energy production, and the benefits, both financial and environmental, of moving to a low-carbon energy future. These benefits include the alleviation of fuel poverty.

Suffolk, in its aspiration to be the Greenest County, will continue to lead the way to this future.

This Council therefore pledges to continue working with all partners, including the New Anglia LEP, to have a coordinated approach in moving to a clean, smart and low-carbon energy future.

Further, this Council resolves to deliver the Local Energy Strategy which includes the potential implementation of smart grid pilots in Suffolk. Indeed, our battery installation at Constantine House represents the beginnings of this.

Finally, this Council urges any future administration to look to ensure at least 50% of all energy use in the Council will come from renewable sources when we procure again for beyond 2022. Furthermore, this Council will continue to maximise clean energy production from our own estate which not only helps the environment but saves the Suffolk taxpayer money.”

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