In 2019, as part of the climate and ecological emergency, the former South Somerset District Council (SSDC) pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030 and calculated its carbon footprint. This resulted in setting a year-on-year 10% carbon reduction target.
Decarbonising our energy
Over the past decade SSDC installed renewable energy technologies on its buildings to help generate fossil fuel free energy for its energy use. Several offices have Photovoltaic Panels (PVs) installed. There are four arrays on the council offices at Brympton Way, as well as arrays on the crematorium, Lufton depot, Petters House and Wincanton sports centre.
In autumn 2020, SSDC was successful in obtaining a substantial Government grant through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. This was to help with
- increasing energy efficiency
- installing renewable energy technologies
- replacing gas for heating and hot water with air and ground source heat pumps on its highest energy-consuming buildings.
A second phase in 2022 continued the decarbonisation improvements across the estate. Upon project completion, the predicted Carbon savings are 698.09 tCO2e per annum.
We supported the 2020 Government Local Electricity Bill and in April 2021, SSDC switched its electricity tariff across the SSDC estate to a 100% Renewable Energy Guarantees Origin (REGO) backed renewable energy supply.
Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme
In 2020, SSDC contracted energy and regeneration company Engie to conduct an energy audit on their highest energy-consuming buildings and developed a net zero carbon roadmap for the council.
To carry out the recommendations, SSDC applied to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) for grant funding. This was to install energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies across their estate, including additional solar panels, air-source heat pumps, insulation, glazing and lighting.
Due to supply chain issues during the pandemic, the project was delayed. A portion of the funding was re-directed to help de-carbonise our leisure centres across the district. This project is predicted to significantly reduce carbon emissions helping the council on its way to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.
Yeovil library has undergone a transformation to make the building greener and more energy efficient as part of Somerset Council’s commitment to decarbonising its buildings.
The project has seen a new air source heat pump installed, lamps changed to LEDs, new thermally efficient windows, improved ventilation with carbon dioxide monitors, and extra insulation.
Freedom Leisure sites
Work to introduce solar power to three Freedom Leisure sites across South Somerset was completed in 2022. It is estimated to save 21 tonnes of carbon emissions per year, the equivalent of taking 11 cars off the road.
Funded by the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, solar panels have been installed at Westlands Sports Centre (Yeovil), Wincanton Sports Centre and Goldenstones Leisure Centre (Yeovil). This work is part of a development plan which will see over £6 million invested across the three sites to improve environmental efficiency, customer experience, accessibility, services and facilities.
Further plans to introduce air source heat pumps at all three leisure centre sites will increase the CO2 reductions to 435 tonnes, the equivalent of taking 229 cars off the road.
Battery Storage Plant
SSDC developed and invested heavily in an innovative Battery Energy Storage Site (BESS) project near Taunton. This is to help store renewable energy and reduce wastage when too much is being produced. When there is more power being supplied from renewables than the National Grid requires energy will be stored at the site. This electricity can then be fed back into the grid later when the demand has increased.
This has now been expanded to 30 megawatts (MW) to maximise the capability of the site. This is by working in partnership with the following national and international businesses:
- Opium Power Ltd
- Western Power Distribution
- British Solar Renewables Ltd
- Kiwi Power Ltd
- National Grid
Through our joint venture company SSDC Opium Power Ltd, another 40MW Battery Energy Storage site near Fareham in Hampshire is now being built, funded by us, which will be one of the most advanced in the UK. The first phase is now live. To find out more, you can view Opium Power’s website.
Get SuSSed Newsletter
SSDC ran a monthly newsletter – get SuSSed – keeping the community up to date on all things linked to their environmental strategy. A complete list of all editions can be found below: