Lowering the carbon footprint of the public sector

20 October 2016 By Fergus Parish, Energy Category Buyer

Solar panels

Public authorities have a great responsibility in adopting environmentally friendly measures and contributing towards a green economy.

A Government pledge to spend millions on a national energy efficiency programme, including solar installations, targeting public sector buildings over the next five years also underlines the importance of this commitment.

Reducing energy bills is also paramount and so against a backdrop of energy efficiency and cost efficiency requirements an increasing number of public authorities are choosing microgeneration technology to generate an energy supply. Not only does it reduce energy costs but it also helps authorities meet stringent carbon emissions legislation.

Gillian Askew, Head of Procurement, commented: “YPO’s specialist procurement framework recognises the financial and environmental importance of renewable technology for public authorities and provides a compliant route to market for the design, supply, installation, commissioning and maintenance of micro-generation scale photovoltaic systems. 

With energy taxes constantly increasing and uncertainty in the commodity market, more and more public authorities are looking at micro-generation as a way to cut bills and be environmentally friendly. The technology is also getting cheaper and more efficient, so it makes sense to give it serious consideration.”

It is estimated that 445g of carbon dioxide is saved from each kwh of solar energy used and those authorities that fall under the Carbon Reduction Commitment, a mandatory carbon emissions reporting and pricing scheme, will realise savings from a lower carbon allowance. Authorities can also benefit from various funding mechanisms including capital expenditure, grant or loan funding, and Energy Efficient Finance.

The Feed-In Tariff (FIT) scheme, introduced in April 2010, also means that authorities are paid for the electricity they generate, regardless of whether they use it or send it to the grid. Photovoltaic solar panels are eligible for feed-in tariffs, which are guaranteed for 25 years. 

Gillian Askew commented: “All suppliers on our framework are accredited with the Micro-generation Certification Scheme which is an independent scheme supported by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Using accredited suppliers is necessary to receive payment for the electricity the authority generates. 

“For those authorities considering whether to opt for micro-generation it’s worth considering that the Carbon Reduction Commitment scheme ends in 2019 at which point Climate Change Levies, a tax on energy usage, will ramp up.”

YPO details some of the benefits and potential impacts of choosing photovoltaic systems:

•    Versatile technology. It can be used in urban or rural areas on roofs, facades or the ground.
•    Low maintenance
•    Electricity generated by solar installations receives subsidies from the feed-in tariffs.  
•    When generation exceeds demand, the excess may be exported to the electricity network, earning revenue.
•    Reduces energy bills.
•    Environmental benefits to help meet emissions targets.
•    Zero emissions in operation, no noise, produces no waste.
•    Building mounted systems take no additional land and may not compete with other uses.
•    Ground mounted systems can make use of unused space, such as embankments, vacant plots or agricultural land.

One of the public sector bodies that YPO has recently supported through the Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) system includes Kent Police. Kent Police was keen on procuring solar photovoltaic panels in a quick, efficient and compliant manner. The authority approached YPO for a sustainable solution and have since then managed to save both administrative time and funds as a result of the procurement process.

Pauline Dines, Head of Estates Programme Delivery, Estate Services Department for Essex and Kent Police, said: “YPO was highly responsive and addressed our challenges very efficiently, allowing us to work swiftly to obtain tenders and achieve project completion to meet with the Feed-in Tariff (FIT). YPO’s energy team were extremely supportive, and enabled us to prepare and complete documents quickly. Their approach was tailored to our specific needs and therefore, their solution has really helped us achieve some of our key objectives. YPO offered us real procurement expertise at a time when we needed it the most.”

The YPO energy team represents over 100 different organisations ranging from county councils, educational establishments, charities and the emergency services along with individual public sector sites. The experienced energy solutions team provides supply chain management for renewable energy technologies and low energy building services, all backed by expert advice in energy efficiency and energy policy.

For more information about the Low Carbon Electrical Micro-generation framework click here.

To view our wide range of Energy frameworks click here.

Categories: Energy , Frameworks , Procurement

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