Liverpool winning race to cut carbon footprint

LIVERPOOL is on course to meet its climate change targets – three years ahead of schedule.

According to recent government statistics, the city has already achieved a staggering 18% reduction in carbon emissions since 2012.

And thanks to a number of energy saving initiatives and investment in renewables, that cut could double to 35% by 2020 – far surpassing the 20% target set by the EU Covenant of Mayors, with the Mayor of Liverpool saying the city should aim to be the greenest city in the UK.

The figures have been revealed in a report to Liverpool City Council’s Regeneration Select Committee, whose members meet to discuss the findings tomorrow (Thursday, 15 November), which shows Liverpool is in one of the UK’s best performing cities in reducing its carbon footprint.

Since 2012 Liverpool has seen a 550% rise in registered renewable energy installations (from 589 to 3,131) and has produced 558,000 fewer tonnes of CO2 at a rate of 70,000 tonnes per year – the same volume as 280,000 double decker buses!

Local actions that have driven improvements include: improving the energy efficiency of local buildings and street lighting; making it easier for people to travel without using fossil based fuels and actions such as increased recycling and the creation of energy from waste. (See 7 project case studies below)

The report also highlighted that the positive downward trend in emissions and energy consumption has continued as the city has entered a boom in construction – which could signal a symbolic de-coupling between economic growth and the growth of carbon emissions.

Its publication follows the news that just last month the UK generated more clean renewable energy than dirty, fossil fuel non-renewable energy for the first time in a 24 hour period and the city is now seeking how it can continue to support that national drive over the next decade.

The new report is recommending the city council presses ahead with a series of initiatives to continue the drive to a “Low Carbon Liverpool” by setting an increased carbon reduction target by 2030.

This would be underpinned by an updated Liverpool Sustainable Energy Action plan, to be reviewed by the committee every two years, and the development of a Mayoral Low Carbon Economy Challenge document to be issued to business and industry, based around best practice.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, who leads the city region on carbon reduction, said: “I want Liverpool to be the greenest city in the UK – to be a beacon for others to be inspired by. A low carbon economy makes total sense on an environmental, financial and health level – and we are already beginning to reap the dividends even in just the short period since I signed the city up to the EU Mayoral Covenant. What really excites me is the will to achieve more across both the public and private sectors and thanks to this report we can have the confidence to press ahead and make some truly monumental decisions that will transform Liverpool’s position to a world leader in carbon reduction.”

Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “Climate change is a global problem but every single one of us all have a part to play in being part of the solution – no matter how minor that may be. As a city we should take great pride in the knowledge that we are aiming for a low carbon economy with real vigour, some smart thinking and making the very utmost of the latest technologies to drive through some quite radical behavioural changes. It’s fantastic to see that Liverpool is on course to smash the EU reduction target. We’re going to have to reset the dial and push ourselves and partners across the city region even further and so we should, because I know we can all achieve more.”

Key Liverpool City Region projects for the future could include:
•         Harnessing the ‘Power of the Mersey’ by investigating the impact of a tidal barrage, water sourced heat from its docklands and more offshore wind projects
•         Developing more solar roofs on public buildings
•         Work with the health sector to provide home energy efficiency support to owner occupiers and private tenants
•         Invest £41m of national funding in improving local sustainable transport initiatives
•         Build upon the safe cycling infrastructure to develop a city wide cycling offer
•         Encourage a switch to low or zero carbon forms of transport
•         Develop heat networks located at energy dense locations lowering energy costs to particularly energy intensive businesses

Encouraging signs for the future include the fact that the low carbon goods and services sector across the city region has continued to grow at an annual 4% rate despite national economic uncertainties and Liverpool has been recognised with special CORE (Centre for Offshore Renewable Engineering) by the UK Government.

The health sector in the city is also investing heavily in the development of local energy sources and heat generation projects such as tapping into the potential power of green waste and food waste. There is also significant estimated reductions to be made through the construction of the Runcorn Energy from Waste (EfW) thermal power station.

If the recommendations are endorsed by the Select Committee this Thursday (December 15) a new report will go to the Mayor and Cabinet in the New Year to agree the actions to be taken and set a new target for carbon emission reduction by 2030.
ECONOMY 7 – Liverpool’s leading Low Carbon projects:
1.       Collective Switching – Liverpool City Council are working collectively across the City Region with Energy Projects Plus, a local Social Enterprise, to run a local collective switching offer. This project is specifically focused on the needs of residents and in particular assisting those not familiar with internet technologies to help them get their best price for energy by switching suppliers.  There have now been five collective switching rounds.  Across the region more than 4,200 have switched their suppliers and have achieved a total saving of more than £750,000 on their energy bills.  Liverpool have helped build this scheme from an initial £5,000 investment.
2.       Liverpool LECCY – Liverpool City Council’s recently appointed licensed energy supplier will target the 70,000 households on pre-payment meters. The aim is switch them to smart meters and moving customers to the latest SMART meters which, as well as cutting costs, will enable users to manage their energy use more efficiently and so will help reduce CO2 emissions. Research by the Citizens Advice Bureau say people who use these meters pay £226 more a year on their fuel bills compared with the cheapest direct debt tariff.
3.       Solar Panels at new Exhibition Centre Liverpool – 925 photovoltaic panels installed on the roof that could save £20,000 a year. The panels are expected to dramatically reduce the building’s carbon footprint and help generate energy for ACC Liverpool’s waterfront portfolio with the energy-producing technology expected to last at least two decades.
4.       Phased replacement of city’s street lights with LED lighting. In 2014 at a total cost of £7m, 12,000 LED lights were installed across 1,800 streets with 120 concrete columns replaced. This has produced energy savings of £585,000 to date and carbon savings of about 1,500 tonnes. Second phase die in 2017 for 9,380 new LED street lights at a cost of £4m. This will reduce the energy consumption for these lights by 82%, cutting the council’s energy bill by about £260,000 a year. There will also be a reduction in carbon of about 1,300 tonnes, bringing a saving of £21,000 and there will be maintenance savings of approximately £47,000 a year.
5.       Liverpool University’s Combined Heat and Power Plant (CHP) and Energy Centre: A Grade II listed former Victorian coal-fired boiler house and mortuary has been transformed into a state of the art 21st Century energy centre and workshops. These buildings represent an investment of £19million and a key element in the Universities’ sustainability agenda. The CHP uses gas to generate electricity for the University campus and the waste heat from the electrical generation to provide hot water services and heating for University buildings. The University is experiencing savings of 7,000 tonnes of CO2 each year from the CHP, resulting in a 13% reduction in the University’s carbon footprint.
6.       The Museum of Liverpool museum tri-generation plant: This system creates heat, electricity and cooling in one integrated process that has annually reduced carbon emissions by 884 tonnes, since opening in 2011.  The museum sources its power for the system from a mix of low carbon fuels and renewable energy. The museum is also reported to be seeking a BREEAM “very good” rating to certify its sustainability strategies.
7.       REECH (Renewables and Energy Efficiency in Community Housing) was aimed at improving energy efficiency in some of the most deprived communities in Merseyside.  It ran from January 2011 until 31st December 2015. The programme received £14m from ERDF and levered in a further £12.1m, resulting in: 3,100 homes improved, 21,000 tonnes of CO2 saved, 363 jobs created, 42 businesses assisted and 14 business processes improved.

Liverpool Waterfront