Agenda item

BCC Energy Supply Contract Renewals 2021/22

Minutes:

David Gray and Steve Ransom introduced the item to Members and said they were responsible for purchasing the Council’s energy supplies. This was a retrospective report to clarify and set the scene for Members regarding the situation that had arisen in late 2021 and the decisions and arrangements that were made following on from that all if which are detailed in the published report.

 

Officers said that many lessons had been learned over the past 2 years.  There had been significant impacts but the situation was now on a ‘stable footing’ and they had a plan for where they want to be in next 12 months.  They added that there were genuine concerns about the supply of gas and electric for this winter and reliance upon renewables. But if there is little or no wind will be difficult. 

 

Officers said they did not expect energy prices to not return to what would be considered ‘normal’ for many years.  They said the Government’s energy bill relief scheme would include support for the public sector. Also, that the scheme would pay suppliers for the difference between the actual grid price and wholesale price.  They also added that they were unsure what happen with the scheme after April 2023.

 

It was asked if there were plans to further expand the Council’s energy  generation? Officers said that all Council activity in that area would now be undertaken via the City Leap project.

 

A Member said it appeared there was some flexibility in the current contracts now. But could there be a time when without Government support that the Council would have to have to ‘switch off’ energy supplies.   Officers said that anything that could be done to save energy would certainly help.  But they had already secured a locked-in price for electricity and were currently working on the gas contract.

 

A Member asked what the Council was doing to reduce how much energy it used? Officers said that energy efficiency of council buildings wasn’t particularly good and there was without doubt a need to reduce usage going forward.  But they were also investing in and considering new renewables technology.  City Leap was focussed on wind and solar energy but there were also huge potential and benefits in improving the ability to store energy. 

 

Members asked if it was possible to find a way to make a financial incentive to save energy?  Officers said it could be possible but it would be very difficult to implement. 

 

A Member said that it could be stipulated when buying that we want to purchase renewable sources. But when purchasing via a full sleave contract can the buyer stipulate more renewables? Officers said that buying green energy can’t be counted as carbon reduction target. It would be seen as double counting. 

 

A Member asked about pump storage methods? Officers said yes that was possible however inter-seasonal heat storage was something it might be more productive to look at going forward though. 

 

The Commission thanked the officers for all their hard work and sleepless nights. 

 

Supporting documents: