Action plan looks to change way Edinburgh uses energy

Councillors are set to consider an ambitious five-year action plan for transforming energy use across the city.

Edinburgh’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) looks at ways of generating more energy locally, addressing energy and resource efficiency and using more renewables.

The strategy aims to make a 42% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020, delivered through five proposed programmes: energy efficiency, renewables, resource efficiency, district heating and sustainable transport.

The Council will work with a range of stakeholders including local groups, businesses and other organisations from across the city to develop new initiatives to tackle carbon emissions, focusing on partnership and the key role communities play in delivering projects like energy co-operatives.

Amongst the actions put forward in the plan, which will build on existing initiatives, are the replacement of street and tenement stair lights with energy efficient LED systems, a new electric vehicle strategy for the city and the establishment of an energy services company, Energy for Edinburgh.

Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “Climate change and the rising cost of energy are huge issues, affecting each and every one of us, so it is absolutely necessary that we make every effort to address our own impact.

“We are already making moves to tackle carbon emissions and fuel poverty in the city, with a number of initiatives in place, and the SEAP will not only build on these, but will inspire and encourage new ways of reducing emissions.”

The SEAP complements Sustainable Edinburgh 2020, the Council’s sustainable development strategy, which pledges to reduce carbon emissions. It will enable Edinburgh’s participation in the EU Covenant of Mayors (CoM) initiative, allowing the Council to benefit from EU funding schemes and share best practice with other European cities and towns.

It is estimated that the current SEAP actions will result initially in a 900 KtCO2 reduction in carbon emissions – approximately 65% towards the 42% target – with further progress expected as projects develop.

While the main focus of SEAP is reducing carbon emissions, other benefits will include alleviating fuel poverty, the development of new skills and jobs for those delivering projects and the potential for promoting the city as a leading authority in sustainable energy.

If agreed, the SEAP will be closely monitored by the Council alongside other partners, with annual reports to the Transport and Environment Committee.

Read more about the Council’s energy plans on the Council website.

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