Gloucester City Council: Renewable Energy

In December 2020 Gloucester City Council set a target to ensure its estates are net zero by 2030. They applied for Salix funding to carry out a project at a sports centre, known for its high operational emissions.

The challenge

Working with consultants we identified an opportunity and applied for Salix funding to carry out a project at a key sports centre in Gloucester, known for its high operational emissions.

Salix is a non-departmental public body, owned wholly by the government. Salix is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and the Department for Education. Salix provides grants for local authorities to fund carbon saving energy technologies. They have funded over 18,700 projects with over 3,100 public sector bodies, valued at £971 million.

The study identified that the property benefits from a large flat roof, and sports fields which were classed as key energy generating opportunities in the Salix bid, A grant was ultimately approved to a sum of £537,000. This will enable cost savings of approximately £35,000 per annum and a reduction of 69 Tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The solution

Following an energy use survey of all council owned property, our consultants CLS, along with the council’s lead on renewable energy, identified the most effective way to access a Salix grant using the most suitable building in the portfolio. The tennis centre was selected as it had a large flat roof with plenty of scope for solar panels, a selection of fields in which we could incorporate piles for the ground source heat pump, and a space to incorporate batteries.

In terms of maximising carbon savings, a balance of the four technologies was proposed for the grant bid. The Salix bid was created to cover four carbon reduction methods:

  • solar PV
  • ground source heat pump
  • battery storage
  • replacement floodlights to sports field.

Works in the background have include liaison with planning authorities and the district network supplier. The electrical grid needed to be upgraded with a new supply provided.

We went out to tender and have received prices for all the works and are now in the planning stage for onsite delivery. We have found that the successful contractors have worked well in the initial stage of project planning.

The impact

Although we are not on site yet, we are planning to deliver the project in such a way that we can become an exemplar to neighbouring bodies in having an integrated renewables example for all to see and learn from.

We have included a social value element to our tenders and as a result of this project will have a learning hub with video displays for visitors to the centre.

The model itself can also be a useful case study for the improvement of other high energy intensity sites within the city.

Lessons learned

The key challenge is time. There are numerous projects ongoing in the country and access to contractor and equipment can be challenging. By going to the market early we believe we have managed to secure contractors, although the expected time frame will be extremely difficult to work with. The earliest we can get a drilling rig is October, and due to this we have applied to Salix for an extension until the end of the financial year.