Energy 2020: Central and local government

Andrew Cooper, REA. Local government is a big sector with a lot of potential for better energy management, but there are a range of barriers to it delivering energy efficiency. Councils are quite siloed and the departments often don’t feel they have control over the energy they use. Many large councils will be under the Carbon Reduction Commitment, but they have a poor understanding of what carbon is and their exposure to the mechanisms. The way investment decisions are made often only take account of the revenue impact of the project and exclude the environmental impacts. They’re limited by funding constraints (especially districts). Building control is not well enforced (perhaps the fault of building regulations rather than councils). There’s a lack of knowledge, skills and political will.

So with all that doom and gloom, what can they do?

A whole range of things, from free cavity insulation (Kirklees) to CHP (Southampton). There is a big overall potential – local authorities have a huge estate and broad channels to communicate with local communities, but they need direction from central government.

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