The Corporate Director Communities presented a report which sought approval from Cabinet for the refresh to the Bridgend Local Area Energy Plan (LAEP).
She explained that in 2014, BCBC was selected as one of the three demonstration areas for the UK Government Smart System and Heat Programme. Cabinet authorised BCBC participation in the SSH Programme in a report presented on the 3rd February 2015. The programme was designed to create innovative tools that would enable heat to be decarbonised across the UK in line with 2050 carbon reduction targets.
She advised that one of the tools that was created within the Smart System and Heat Programme was Local Area Energy Plans (LAEP). LAEP did not adopt a traditional approach to strategy development in that it did not offer a clear what, when and how activities need to happen in order to achieve the 2050 decarbonisation targets. Rather the LAEP proposed a pathway to achieving those targets. Further background on LAEP was at section 3 of the report.
The Corporate Director Communities explained that following Cabinet’s decision in February 2019, the UK Government has moved the UK carbon reduction targets away from an 80% reduction by 2050 to one of Net Zero by 2050. The Bridgend LAEP was based around achieving the 80% reduction target. Following the change in the UK Government’s targets for carbon reduction, BCBC considered its position in relation to its LAEP and considered that a refresh of the plan was needed to maintain its relevance. The refresh of the plan took into consideration the UK Government Net Zero target of 2050, the phasing out of fossil fuel vehicle sales by 2030 and the role that hydrogen could have in delivering a Net Zero Bridgend. Further information was at section 4 of the report.
The Corporate Director Communities explained that there were two scenarios put forward with regards to the role of hydrogen and its impact on Bridgend. Figure 2 and 3 showed Bridgend with the use of hydrogen and without. The full refreshed LAEP was at Appendix 1 of the report.
The Corporate Director Communities explained that BCBCs Energy team had been working with Welsh Government as well as liaising with the Japanese Government on a project for hydrogen energy. She explained that UK government were trialling using hydrogen as a form of power for transportation. This was something BCBC wanted to also consider as a future decarbonisation pathway. She outlined the financial implications as set out in section 8 of the report.
The Cabinet Member Communities explained that while there was not a great deal of detail showing for the 2020-30 period, it was unknown what emerging technologies will come forward and replace what was thought of as new technologies today so it was important to take opportunities that were available in front of us and make changes where they can be made.
The Leader echoed these comments and it was pleasing to see that we were at the cutting edge of the response to the climate emergency in terms of energy reduction which was evident with the role that could be undertaken with Welsh Government and the Japanese Government.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet approved the refreshed Bridgend Local Area Energy Plan.