NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL
POLICY BOARD TASK GROUP
DRAFT NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL POLICY FRAMEWORK
FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY (2003 – 2008).
1. Introduction and rationale
It is hard to imagine life without energy; we use heat and light in our homes and stworkplaces to power machines and appliances. At the start of the 21 century over
90% of that energy was provided by burning fossil fuels, such as gas, oil and coal.
Whilst these sources of energy have helped to develop the world we live in today,
they will not last forever. There is also increasing concern over the impact that
burning fossil fuels is having on the global climate through the increased production
of greenhouse gases.
Following a world summit in Kyoto, Japan in 1997, the UK government agreed,
through the Kyoto Protocol, to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases to 12.5% below
1990 levels by 2012. Subsequently Central Government has made a further
commitment to reduce CO emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2010. In 2001, 2CO emissions were 6.9% below 1990 levels. The Government have also set a 2
target of producing 10% of energy consumption from renewable sources by 2010.
At the end of 2001, 2.9% of the energy consumed was derived from renewable
At the beginning of 2003, the Government published a White Paper, entitled “Our
Energy Future – Creating a Low Carbon Economy”. The White Paper set out four goals for a new UK Energy Policy:
? To work towards cutting CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050
? To maintain the reliability of energy supplies
? To promote competitive energy markets in the UK and beyond
? To ensure that every home is adequately and affordably heated.
Both energy efficiency and renewable energy sources are key areas in which
practical steps can be taken to help meet these goals and reduce dependence on the
UK‟s decreasing fossil fuel reserves.
Energy efficiency covers all aspects of energy savings (or energy conservation) that
reduce overall energy demand, such as good housekeeping measures, insulation
measures and control systems, as well as installing efficient appliances and boilers to
supply heat and light as effectively as possible.
Renewable energy can help to increase the diversity of energy supply, reduce our
dependence on fossil fuels, and help to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas
emissions. Renewable energy refers to energy from the following sources: wind,
solar, water, and biomass.
The challenge for Northumberland County Council is to work within this framework
and to act as a catalyst for encouraging the adoption of energy efficiency measures
and renewable energy projects within its‟ own properties, within the local business
infrastructure and within the wider community as a whole. Northumberland County
Council currently owns and manages over 450 buildings, including more than 200
In 2000/2001 the overall energy consumption was 138 GWh resulting in emissions and a Climate Change tax payment 2approximately 42,000 tonnes of COof over ?250,000 at the current rate. The Council also has a role to play in providing
opportunities to encourage others to follow its‟ example.
i. Our policy brings together existing policies and strategies relating to
renewable energy and energy efficiency and makes them relevant for
the County Council.
Such policies and strategies include:
- Kyoto Protocol
- UK Climate Change Programme
- Renewables Obligation
- Northumberland Local Agenda 21 Strategy
- Developing national, regional and sub-regional strategies
ii. Our policy sits within the framework of:
? Northumberland County Council‟s corporate policies and
strategies (e.g. Vision and Values, Transformational Goals,
Strategic Statement, Community Strategy, etc.)
? County policies and strategies linked to renewable energy and
energy efficiency (e.g. County Council LA21 Action Plan, NSP
Action Plan, ISO14001 Op. Services)
? The work undertaken at the New and Renewable Energy Centre
of Excellence (NaREC) at Blyth
3. Strategic Statement
As part of the dedication to national objectives and to capitalise on the
opportunities the New and Renewable Energy Centre of Excellence will bring
to Northumberland, the County Council is committed to responsible energy
management and the promotion of renewable energy. It will pursue energy
efficiency and the use of renewable energy in the design, maintenance and
management of Council owned buildings, it will drive the growth of the
renewables sector and will encourage good practice amongst all staff, users
and the wider community.
“By 2010 Northumberland County Council will have secured recognition as an exemplar in Renewable Energy research, demonstration and technologies”.
The County Council, in undertaking its‟ statutory and environmental
obligations and in its‟ duty to improve the economic, social and environmental
well-being of Northumberland communities, will consider all forms of
renewable energy, energy efficiency and related technologies, together with
appropriate research, development and production activities. (Energy use in
transport will not be concentrated on, except in respect of alternative fuels.)
i. To promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in the County
ii. To ensure consistency across all County Council activities that are
relevant to renewable energy and energy efficiency.
iii. To secure new opportunities for inward investment, employment and
funding within Northumberland.
iv. To develop research, learning and skills in the renewable energy and
energy efficiency field within Northumberland.
v. To promote Northumberland within a local, regional, national,
European and international context and uphold the sharing of good
vi. To build upon and work towards existing local, regional, national,
European and international policies, strategies and targets (see 2.i).
For example: Northumberland Local Agenda 21 Strategy
In November 2000 the Northumberland Environment Forum published the „Northumberland
Local Agenda 21 Strategy‟, which aims to improve people‟s quality of life whilst safeguarding
the environment for present and future generations. Northumberland County Council
Executive endorsed the document in March 2001. The Strategy contains the following
? Encourage major utilities to participate in area-based domestic energy efficiency
? Support higher standards of energy efficiency in new building regulations.
? Press for improved availability of, and access to, information on domestic energy use
? Promote action to improve energy efficiency through schools.
? Target existing organisations and networks involved in the delivery of business
support and advice to encourage industry and commerce to adopt energy efficiency
policies and practices and encourage the adoption of energy efficiency targets by
existing and new businesses.
? Promote energy efficiency good practice.
? Encourage research into the deployment of renewable energy in Northumberland.
? Encourage and support community renewable energy projects.
? Where possible, encourage renewable energy pilot projects in schools.
? Incorporate renewable energy and energy efficiency features in the design and
redesign of buildings.
? Investigate the feasibility of securing 10% or more of electricity needs from renewable
? Encourage the development of renewable energy technology manufacturing in
6. Next Steps
A County Council Action Plan should be developed by September 2003,
which will draw upon the knowledge and expertise of each directorate affected
by this policy framework (see 6.2.2 for examples). Section 6.1 identifies
some early opportunities, which may be adopted without delay and will, in
turn, aid the development of the Action Plan.
6.1. Recommendations for Early Action
1. Secure an electricity supply for County Hall (and Hepscott Park)
from an auditable renewable source.
2. Ensure renewable energy and energy efficiency measures and
opportunities are embedded into the Experience Northumberland
at Woodhorn Project.
3. As a landholder, ensure that the South West Cramlington
development is in accordance with this renewable energy and
energy efficiency policy framework.
4. Establish contacts with leading edge, innovative Northumberland-
based companies in the renewable energy and energy efficiency
fields and work with them to assist in celebrating their success and
aid their growth (e.g. Econnect).
5. Use the recently completed Normalised Performance Indicator for
schools to progress more detailed investigations, which will seek to
identify renewable energy and energy efficiency pilot projects for
the least energy efficient schools. This will be carried out with a
view to establishing an appropriate funding mechanism for
renewable energy and energy efficiency work in schools and in the
6. Investigate the feasibility of photovoltaic installations at County Hall
in response to the UK government‟s push to increase the use and
public image of renewable technologies and to contribute to the
County Council making a clear, visible statement on renewable
7. Support and endorse the North East Regional Renewable Energy
Study, which seeks to identify capacity and review renewable
energy targets for the region and sub-regions to 2020.
8. Support and obtain County Council endorsement of the County-
wide Strategy for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, which
seeks to identify a basis for action to secure development and
investment in renewables and energy efficiency.
9. Develop the action plan for a fundamental review in County
Council energy use and its impact on the environment. 10. Obtain an immediate and ongoing County Council commitment for
capital and project development resource.
6.2. Action Plan Development
The following sections highlight the areas that should be considered in
the development of the County Council Action Plan:
Northumberland County Council views the Northumberland Local
Agenda 21 Strategy and its‟ Action Areas as a sound basis for putting
policy into action and shall begin to deliver in those areas (see Section
5). In consideration of those Action Areas, possible challenges for
incorporation in the Action Plan that would assist in measuring or
monitoring policy implementation are as follows:
(For guidance only):
? To monitor energy consumption and identify measures to reduce
emissions in County Council properties 2
? To identify resources available to access funding opportunities for
renewable energy and energy efficiency projects ? To identify, initiate and promote renewable energy and energy
efficiency projects within County Council properties and with other
partners in the County
? To develop a series of codes of good practice and procedures for
use in energy management
? To continue to review all tariffs and energy supply contracts ? To implement the recommendations of the sub-regional and
regional renewable energy strategies into the delivery of renewable
energy within the Council
? To continue to assess the procurement opportunities for alternative
? To implement a programme for raising awareness with all Council
staff and Members
? To develop an energy awareness leaflet for all Head Teachers ? To introduce energy awareness into all induction programmes for
new staff and Members
The relevant lead department should implement the action
areas/challenges as appropriate:
(For example only):
? Corporate Policy – to provide overall co-ordination and
responsibility for implementation
? Operational Services - negotiation with utilities, assessment of
? Environment - planning, research, development and promotional
? Personnel - staff training
? Communications - awareness raising, promotional aspects
? Education - promotion through schools
? Regeneration –new infrastructure, sites and premises, business
? Asset Management Group – promoting effective and efficient use
of property through the Corporate Asset Management Plan,
demonstration projects on County Farm Estate
Co-ordination and monitoring of the policy should be the responsibility
of a group of representatives from each lead department, as identified
in section 6.2.2.
Indicators may be used to measure activity:
(For example only):
? Energy and fuel consumption per annum
? Number of key staff given training
? Number of demonstration projects in place
? Tendered unit price for energy
This report has been prepared for Head of Regeneration by a corporate
officer group including Clive Fagg (Environment), Julie Dowson
(Regeneration), Peter McArdle (Operational Services), John Price (Asset
Management Group), and Neil Shashoua (Chief Executive’s).