Local councils can cushion the blow of budget cuts by making better use of green energy subsidies. This is according to a report released by localism think tank, NLGN, who aim to enhance local governance.
Some councils face budget cuts of around 9% next year, but the report, ‘Power and Money’ highlights how these challenges can be faced through the access of new sources of funding through schemes such as the Feed-in Tariff and the Renewable Heat Incentive.
With an estimated pot of £12 billion available over the next two decades, Luke Hildyard, a researcher and the report author spoke of the adantages of the new schemes: “Local authorities will be able to access what could be a potentially vital source of revenue at a time of unprecedented budget cuts.”
However, he was critical of the recent FiT review: “But by carrying out the review of the Feed-in tariff earlier than planned and delaying the renewable heat incentive, the Government has increased the risk factor for those planning to roll-out micro-generation installations locally. Renewable energy projects require costly and time-consuming planning and research, which councils may be reluctant to undertake in an uncertain environment.”
As well as discussing possible financial advantages for councils, the report discusses the potential in job creation through introducing new industries into local areas.
Councillor Mehboob Khan, of Kirklees Council, said how the incentives were benefiting his area: “”We viewed the new incentives as an opportunity to develop the local green economy, support and create jobs as well as reduce carbon and tackle fuel poverty. The projects we are developing build on previous experience and are good news for our residents.”