St Edmundsbury is top authority area for generating renewable energy in east of England with Ipswich among the worst
13:40 26 February 2016
A Suffolk council is producing more than 100% of the power it needs using solar, biomass and wind energy, making it one of the greenest in the east of England.
New figures reveal the west Suffolk council is the top user of renewable energy in the region.
Analysis by the think tank Green Alliance has showed how more than 100% of the district’s energy needs are being meet by renewable sources.
Alaric Pugh, St Edmundsbury Borough council’s cabinet member for planning and growth, welcomed the news of his authority’s standing in the table.
He said: “This is really good news. It means that St Edmundsbury is an area where people are choosing to invest in renewable energy.
“We are encouraging that through our community energy plan, helping both businesses and residents become more energy efficient and more resilient to fluctuating energy costs.
“We also remain committed to supporting economic growth including the growth of the renewable energy sector.”
For the region as a whole, solar panels are the major source of the East of England’s renewable energy.
The region currently has more than a gigawatt of solar capacity installed, as well as a gigawatt of offshore wind out at sea, which is enough offshore wind to meet the electricity needs of one million households, 10 times the size of Norwich.
Amy Mount, senior policy adviser at Green Alliance, said: “In December the whole world signed an agreement in Paris committing to tackling climate change.
“But it’s not only global leaders who are taking this agenda seriously; these figures for the east of England are really exciting as we can see that local communities are playing their part in making the shift to clean energy happen.
“Across the region, families are putting solar panels on their roofs, and businesses are investing in this cleantech sector.
“Now it’s up to national government to match the global and local commitment to climate change, by stepping up support for the vital renewables industry.”
Elsewhere in Suffolk, Mid Suffolk District Council also made the top 10 local authority areas benefitting from renewable energy, its 33% usage putting it seventh.
Ipswich and Babergh were the poorest performing authorities in Suffolk with only around 2.5% of their energy consumption generated by renewable sources, the Green Alliance data showed.
Carole Jones, Ipswich Borough Council’s development portfolio holder, said the authority was committed to further developing renewable energy resources.
“I think it’s an area where we are really affected by national government and national government policy,” she said.
“It [renewable energy] is really important. We have put solar panels on some of our council house stock and on Crown Pools and that has been really beneficial.”
Ms Jones added the council had taken up opportunities provided by the government’s Green Deal scheme to encourage renewable energy development in the past.
In Essex, Maldon was the highest ranked area with nearly 36%.