Many local authorities have declared climate emergencies and will need to become more involved in the clean energy sector to reduce their carbon emissions, Gary Roscoe and Stuart Urquhart argue.
Many local authorities have declared climate emergencies and will need to become more involved in the clean energy sector to reduce their carbon emissions.
Some will want to own energy assets such as solar PV installations on the ground, on building rooftops or as solar canopies over car parks.
As the asset owner, the local authority will have the option of generating its own income through selling power under a power purchase agreement (PPA). As the price achievable under a PPA is likely to differ according to whether power can be sold under an on-site or private wire PPA arrangement or just sold to the grid, a key consideration for FMs will be the scope for matching generation to local/on-site demand.
Some local authorities will prefer to outsource the development of energy assets to private sector developers. There may be scope for the authority to lock-in favourable energy prices on a long-term basis by entering into PPAs with the developer, or look to secure a long-term rental income from land leased to the developer.
Another consideration will be how to address growing demand for electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities at a range of sites. A key challenge will be securing a sufficient supply of low-carbon electricity while taking into account any constraints imposed by a lack of grid capacity.
We expect to see more local authorities looking to locate solar or other forms of clean energy generation with EV charging facilities. There may also be a benefit from adding battery storage to help manage peaks in charging demand and to optimise the use of locally generated electricity.
Councils will need expert advice from FMs and others to find suitable locations for solar and EV charging and to assess the business case associated with different project structures.
Gary Roscoe, partner, and Stuart Urquhart, legal director, at UK law firm TLT