02 November 2000 | Liam O'Brien
Woking Borough Council is to become the first UK council to have a 100 per cent green energy purchasing policy in place by the end of next year.
The council has been investing in green power for its council buildings, leisure facilities, housing and retail centre in a joint venture with Danish company Hedeselskabet Miljø Og Energi. It says it is on course to buy all its power from locally sited combined heat and power (CHP) and solar stations by the end of next year.
The phased investment has already brought the council's energy bill down from £1.5 million to £800,000 in the current financial year. The move will win Woking Borough Council exemption from the climate change levy that is to be introduced on 1 April as it can prove that it receives a direct supply of green fuel.
Allan Jones, Woking Borough Council's energy services manager, said that Woking was unusual.
"You have got to be proactive. Buying a green tariff from an electricity generator is a cop-out for councils that don't propose to do anything and that will not win any reduction in the climate change levy."
Chris Lewis, former chairman of CIPS energy committee, said that the move had advantages over and above buying a green electricity tariff.
"Under the tariff, all you know is that by paying extra for your power, someone is using more green fuel," he said. "But with your own CHP and solar panels you are doing it yourself, so you know it is happening."