Plans for a ‘Green Paper’ into Green Energy investment revealed


Plans for a ‘Green Paper' to explore investment opportunities around the green energy transition linked to Cardiff Council's response to the climate emergency and carbon neutral targets have been revealed.

The Green Paper aims to provide a clearer picture of:

  • the scale of funding required to meet carbon neutral targets;
  • the economic opportunities of a green energy transition; and
  • the impact of national policies and initiatives.

Carbon emissions generated directly by Cardiff Council have reduced by 11.7% since work began on its One Planet Cardiff strategy in response to the climate emergency in 2019/20, but a report due to be discussed at a Cabinet meeting on March 21st, outlines a number of significant emerging challenges.

Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Cllr Caro Wild, said: "The last few years have seen us take some really significant local action on climate change. For example, we have built a publicly owned solar farm that saw a £600,000 profit come back to the public purse, we've planted close to 80,000 new trees - that's nearly 24 hectares, the equivalent of just over 25 Principality Stadium pitches - the construction of our low carbon District Heat Network is due to be completed this year, we've launched a new One Planet Schools pledge to build climate change into the curriculum and encourage behaviour change, delivered a growing network of segregated cycleways, new low-carbon and Passivhaus standard Council homes, and begun the de-carbonisation of existing council buildings. It's vital that progress continues."

Highlights from the past year include:

  • A successfulClimate Summitbringing together private and community sector organisations in the city to share climate actions, best practice and challenges.
  • The launch of ourOne Planet Schools Pledgein a two-day event where schools and pupils were introduced to a wide range of resources to help them plan their own school climate action plans and to integrate associated learning into the curriculum.
  • Significant progress to develop aLocal Area Energy Planfor the city, aiming to identify and quantify future energy demands and match these with opportunities for efficiency and local clean energy generation.
  • The roll out of aCarbon Literacytraining module for Council staff.
  • Securing Innovate UK funding for new Operational Manager and apprentice posts whose work will focus on researching and proposing a methodology toembed carbon and climate considerationsinto the Council's governance and decision-making systems.
  • Significant progress on the construction of theCardiff Heat Network, which will deliver low carbon heat to major buildings and development in the Bay.
  • Completion of a major study to understand and investigate the potential costs and challenges of reaching Net-Zero in the Council'sbuilt estate.
  • Completion of a"Refit" energy retrofit tenderto secure the next phase of our building decarbonisation.
  • The installation of extensivesensors and data collectorsthroughout our estate to develop a closely monitored understanding of energy use and opportunities for savings.
  • Development of a newdomestic retrofit initiative, called "LA Flex" linking Energy Company Obligation funding with home occupiers in fuel poverty to install energy efficiency measures. This will launch in early 2024.
  • Progress on further energy improvements to the Council's housing stock through low-rise flats retrofit initiative and a Welsh Government Grant for works tohard-to-treat steel framed houses.
  • Progress onnew Council Housepartnership delivering low carbon affordable homes.
  • Successful hosting and expansion of the"Climate Emergency Board"which brings together public sector, academic and utility organisations in the city to share best practice on decarbonisation and to develop collaborative decarbonisation and behaviour change actions.
  • Detailed designs for the construction of alow carbon new-build high schoolas a pathfinder for future builds.
  • Successful grant funding to pilot and installair source heat pumpsin some council buildings.
  • Securing over £2m of grant funding from the Cardiff Capital Region Challenge Fund, in partnership with Monmouthshire Council, to investigate and sponsor innovative new ways to deliver local,low carbon and healthy food solutions.
  • Planting of 58,000 trees so far, as part of theCoed Caerdyddinitiative.
  • Lamby Way Solar Farm performance levels above expectations for the year.

Cllr Wild continued: "Despite the significant progress being made, achieving our carbon neutral ambitions is a huge challenge. We've always been open about the fact we can't achieve our carbon neutral ambitions alone. But it has become increasingly clear that as well as a sustained focus from every single individual and every single organisation in Cardiff, significant shifts in the funding available to local authorities, improvements to national grid infrastructure, the rapid re-skilling of the workforce, and a focus on climate change at all levels of government, are also required if we are to become the One Planet Cardiff we need to be.

"Of particular concern is the cost of bringing all 240 council-owned buildings up to net-zero standards. We've worked out that currently it would require an investment in the region of £860 million, which is obviously unaffordable without significant government investment.

"Now that we fully understand the scale of the challenge the time is right to bring forward this green paper, engage and consult with the city and our partners, so that together we can continue to progress as quickly as possible towards net-zero."

The report also highlights the risk to Cardiff from flooding as a result of climate change, regardless of the city's efforts to reduce emissions. To mitigate this risk the Council is in the process of developing a number of flood prevention schemes including a major coastal flood defence scheme on spanning 1.5 kilometres along the foreshore.

The ‘One Planet Cardiff - Annual Review' report will be scrutinised by the Environmental Scrutiny Committee at their meeting at 4.30pm on 14thMarch 2024. All papers related to the meeting will be available here, along with a live stream of the meeting:

The report will then be discussed at a public Cabinet Meeting at 2pm on March 21st2024. The meeting's agenda, reports and papers will be available to view closer to the date here where a live stream of the meeting will also be available on the day.