Most local authorities already have some experience of renewable energy generation, usually through building mounted solar PV systems. The confidence that owning and operating these systems has brought is leading an increasing number of local authorities to consider owning larger renewable energy generating assets, either solar farms or wind turbines.
This is an updated version of the guide, originally published in September 2020 to provide additional information in relation to industry and policy changes. This guide has been updated to help both members and officers of local authorities who are considering asset ownership to understand the potential risks and benefits and how these can be managed.
Since the original publication of the guidance there have been significant changes, both in terms of UK energy markets, but also in relation to Council investment activities through changes to the guidance on use of Public Works Loan Board funds. Councils are keen to meet their decarbonisation targets and locally generated electricity will be a key part of that mix. Generating electricity, on a scale that is proportionate to a council’s needs, and in line with meeting decarbonisation goals, is not an activity primarily for commercial gain and therefore should not fall foul of the new lending criteria.
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