Smart energy plans in west Suffolk given £335,000 funding boost

West Suffolk House in Bury St Edmunds will be the headquarters of the new West Suffolk Council.

West Suffolk House in Bury St Edmunds will be the headquarters of the new West Suffolk Council. - Credit: Archant

Groundbreaking plans to pilot smart energy solutions in west Suffolk have been given a £335,000 cash boost after a successful funding bid.

Funding is now in place for the £770,000 scheme, which West Suffolk councils say will pilot various solutions in the area to generate energy, reduce carbon emissions, unlock growth and provide an income.

The councils made the bid to Interreg – The North Sea Region Programme Funding for the European project known as ACDC (Advancing Coordination of future low-carbon energy grid Development in Cities).

The projects will include developing a local smart grid, utilising peer to peer energy trading, installing solar power on buildings and new battery technology and storage – including at the planned Mildenhall Hub.

Looking at ways to improve energy efficiency, install renewable energy systems and the electrification of transportation will also be covered under the scheme.

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The councils say initial estimates suggest the pilot could achieve annual saving of 600,000kWh of electricity and CO2 reductions of 250 tonnes.

A 15% energy efficiency improvement across participating businesses is also predicted.

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If successful, the project could also be rolled out across the Eastern Power Network to meet long term energy, growth and CO2 reduction goals.

Susan Glossop, St Edmundsbury cabinet member for planning and growth, said: “This is good news and the fact we got the full amount we applied for is an indication of how strong our business case is against other organisations who are part of this European project.

“Once again we are leading the way as a council in using new technology to drive forward innovation which will make a real difference locally.

“Not only will it reduce carbon emissions but help save money and support our local businesses.

“Our team has done well to secure this funding which is part of our wider and successful work to use cleaner energy while supporting businesses and providing an income to support services.”

Lance Stanbury, Forest Heath District Council cabinet member for planning and growth, said: “We already have a good reputation for backing generation of clean energy with one of the largest council owned solar farms in the country.

“This is already generating hundreds of thousands of income for the council to support services. The pilot projects will build on that success and look for new ways to create a smart grid and better storage to support local need.

“We will take the opportunity to use Mildenhall Hub to not only deliver good joined up services but produce clean energy and trial new advances in battery storage to benefit all.

“With the increased facilities we are providing for charging electric vehicles and initiatives such as Solar For Business we are a leading authority in the energy field.”

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