Stroud District Council looks to wind turbines and solar panels to become carbon neutral
WIND turbines, solar panels and hydro-power schemes are now being considered by the local authority to combat dwindling fossil fuel resources and rising energy costs.
The news follows the Gazette’s report into how Stroud District Council (SDC) has dropped behind in its target to become carbon neutral by 2030, with a 36 per cent rise in carbon dioxide (C02) emissions in one year alone.
At SDC’s environment committee meeting on Thursday, September 12, councillors were given various options as to how to the council’s buildings and transport could be upgraded to make them more energy efficient.
This included improvements to radiators at the Ebley Mill council office in Stroud, replacing lighting with more efficient bulbs, as well as having more efficient pool cars for the council.
They were also shown the scale of new infrastructure that would be required if the 2030 target was to be reached.
To become carbon neutral with the emissions it currently has, SDC would have to build five wind turbines, two anaerobic digestion plants, 50 hydro-power schemes or 22,820 solar panels.
Chairman of the environment committee, Cllr Simon Pickering, said: "I think one of the things this report has demonstrated is that we can make small changes but then it gets harder to reduce your C02 emissions.
"There will come a point when we cannot make more C02 savings in current infrastructure."
Cllr Pickering suggested looking at bio methane fuel for the council’s vehicles in the future.
Cllr Chas Fellows (Con, Chalford) said he believed it was a logical way forward but they would have to look at the acceptability of such proposals.
"For example would the public accept four wind turbines? I think that’s debatable," he said.
Strategic head of development services Brian Wyatt said the council would eventually have to look at these capital expenditure programmes if it wished to stay on target.
"We can continue with efficiency improvements but we will have to consider these options at some point," he said.
"Each of those schemes has a strong business case because we would look at a payback period of several years."
The payback period is the amount of time it would be expected to take to make back the money spent on the specific project in energy savings.
The committee decided to ask council officers to come back with general costs and risks associated with each of the significant renewable energy infrastructures suggested at its next meeting on Thursday, October 31.
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