Highland Council is staking its claim as one of the most ambitious and climate conscious councils in Scotland by becoming the nation’s leading utiliser of the climate focused Salix Investment Fund.
In 2019, based on a business case developed by the Transformation Service, Highland Council, secured a £3.5m interest free loan from Salix, match funded against Council investments in solar and hydro – the largest award made in Scotland and the largest made to a local authority in the UK.
Members at today’s Climate Change Committee noted a range of benefits already secured thanks to the local authority’s investments.
Chair of the Climate Change Committee, Cllr Karl Rosie, said:
“We should be very proud that Highland Council has taken such a pioneering and proactive approach to addressing the demands of the climate and ecological emergency.
“But I firmly believe we are just getting started.
“I look forward to seeing the new and exciting investments which are already being planned for the future.”
The £7m Recycling Fund (RF) aims to increase long-term investment in energy efficient technologies across the public sector by enabling clients to reinvest savings from previous projects to finance further energy reduction schemes.
The loan fund is ring-fenced for investment in projects that will reduce the Council’s energy spend and carbon emissions.
Any work progressed through the Salix Fund must realise a carbon and financial saving for Highland Council (project compliance criteria of up to a 12-year payback at a cost of £305 per tonne of carbon dioxide saved).
Through the Recycling Fund the Council has undertaken a huge amount of work which will benefit the organisation in both the short and long term, through initial improvements and the recycling of savings.
Some of the works funded through the RF are:
- LED Phase 1: £2.3m has been invested in improving the lighting condition of 77 buildings throughout the estate. Replacing older bulbs with new energy efficient bulbs is expected to save almost 1.8 million kWh annually and result in estimated annual carbon savings of over 500,000 kgCO2e.
- LED Phase 2: £1.9m has been invested in improving the lighting condition of buildings throughout the estate. Replacing older bulbs with new energy efficient bulbs is expected to save almost 1.2 million kWh annually and result in estimated annual carbon savings of over 283,000 kgCO2e
- Solar PV programme: £2m of solar PV has been deployed across 30 a mixture of schools, leisure facilities and offices, displacing a reliance on grid supplied electricity and the associated increasing costs. The PV installations have a life expectancy of over 25 years and are expected to generate over 1.3million kWh annually, resulting in yearly carbon savings of 300,000 kgCO2e
River Ness Hydro:
£2.55m installation of a 92kW Archimedes screw, hydroelectric power turbine in the River Ness, making use of existing infrastructure from a historical hydroelectric system at the site.
The system, which has a life expectancy of over 60 years, is expected to generate ~550,000 kWh of 68 renewable electricity annually (approximately 50% of Inverness Leisure’s total consumption), reducing carbon emissions by ~140,000 kgCO2e annually.
Working across 21 sites the Recycling Fund has also invested in several energy saving measures including LED replacement and pool covers at High Life Highland sites, resulting in estimated savings of 445,391 kwh at an estimated cost of £734,000.
Annual savings are £66,000 with estimated CO2e saving of 127,000 kgCO2e annually.
And in 2021/22 the Recycling Fund worked on street lighting across 19 Wards with a spend of £514,000 on 1,490 fittings.
Estimated savings of 531,689 kWh with annual energy savings of over £85,000 and an estimated CO2e saving of 122,000 kgCO2e.
To date the fund has worked across 21 Wards with a spend of over £3m on approx 14,000 fittings.
Estimated savings of 531,689 kWh, resulting in estimated annual energy savings of over £500k and an estimated annual CO2e saving of 715,000 kgCO2e.
The key headlines and benefits of the original £7m investment to date are:
- Estimated annual energy savings in excess of 4.4m kWh
- Estimated annual carbon savings in excess of 1,200 tCO2e
- Estimated annual financial savings in excess of £0.5m (which will continuously be reinvested in other energy efficiency initiatives)
- A match funding contribution of £3.5m from Salix at 0% interest
- Lifetime savings of over £13.5m;
- Ongoing access to technical support and project analysis from Salix
- Further strengthening the Councils successful partnership with Salix. The Highland Council is a leading Salix client, operating the largest value active Recycling Fund and highlighting exemplar implementation of projects estate-wide to support holistic decarbonisation.