Agenda item


“I was so pleased to see Carmarthenshire County Council declare a Climate Emergency in 2019. 


As part of the budget debate I would like to ask how much has been invested in renewable energy generation by the Council since the declaration of the Climate Emergency of 20/2/19?”



“I was so pleased to see Carmarthenshire County Council declare a Climate Emergency in 2019. 


As part of the budget debate I would like to ask how much has been invested in renewable energy generation by the Council since the declaration of the Climate Emergency of 20/2/19?”


Response by Councillor Cefin Campbell, Executive Board Member for Communities and Rural Affairs:-

“Thank you for the question Mr Hughes. I think I need to start off by saying due to the historical development of Carmarthenshire County Council and the nature of the buildings that we have we will never be able to reach a point where we are completely carbon free because of the residual output relating to some of our old, very old buildings which is why we emphasise that we aim to be net zero carbon by 2030. Now the net zero is an important element of our declaration because we aim to primarily compensate or, off set, our residual carbon footprint by increasing the amount of renewable energy we generate on the Council’s estate.


However, we do face a problem and this was raised earlier on in our budget debate this morning by Councillor Aled Vaughan Owen. We have a problem with our Distribution Network Operator - Western Power – We have a blockage, we have a lack of capacity on the national grid which hinders our ambition to create more renewable energy projects. There is very little additional capacity available on the electricity distribution network as I mentioned for large-scale renewable energy installations. Which is what we ideally need in terms of solar panels and wind turbines and even hydro. I was talking about large scale renewal energy projects that we absolutely need in order to provide that offsetting exercise. So we are in discussions with Western Power, we are in discussions as well on a regional basis with other local authorities to see whether we can put some influence on the distribution network to allow us more capacity. But, unfortunately, this is beyond our control because obviously Western Power and Welsh Government need to get involved and it is some thing we are giving priority to.


However, despite the blockages and the challenges we face in getting large scale projects on board, we have achieved some positive outcomes with much smaller projects and some of them I’ll just quickly refer to. We put solar pv panels on 10 sites in our Re-fit Cymru project and this equated to about an installed capacity of 460 kW. And also in in our new build programmes, which I was referring to in an earlier question. So, it is frustrating for us but we can do small scale projects, which we have been doing, on our properties, but it’s only going to scratch the surface until we grasp the major hurdle or cross that major hurdle we have in getting more capacity in the national grid network. So, I hope that explains our frustration Mr Hughes but also giving you an insight to the small projects that we are undertaking.


Mr Hughes, before asking a supplementary question asked if his first question could be answered first which ‘how much has been invested in renewable energy not, what are the issues and the frustrations you’ve got. The question I asked was how much has been invested.


Cllr Campbell in response stated Okay, as I explained, what we have done is invested in the retro-fit programme on the new development sites and also on some Council homes that we own and this as I mentioned has increased our total installed capacity by 460kw to 1.65mw. I think that’s quite a good increase and I fully understand we need to do more but, we will never reach our net zero target unless we sort out the problem with the national grid capacity issue. I can’t really over-estimate how important it is to us to achieve that


Mr Hughes – So can you answer my question Councillor Campbell which is how much has been invested?


Councillor Campbell – Sorry do you mean in terms of the financial investment. I haven’t got those figures at hand, I was wondering whether your question was around the actual outcomes of the investment in terms of carbon reduction which I guess would have been of more interest to you than the actual financial investment but, I’m happy to send on the data and the details around the financial investment we’ve made after today’s meeting if that’s okay with you?  


Mr Hughes asked the following supplementary question:-

“I’m in the process of fitting solar panels, pv panels, to my house which to me seems a very simple way of generating renewable energy at home here. Can you tell me how many of the Council’s domestic homes are due to have solar panels fitted say, in the next year?

Councillor Campbell responded as follows:-

“As I mentioned, all of our new developments are going to have the Re-fit scheme which includes solar panels, battery charging, insulation and so on. We’ve also got a scheme in Glanmor Terrace which includes I think about  18 homes where we are retro fitting with solar panels and other schemes as well and Councillor Linda Evans referred to this in an earlier presentation she made around our council housing stock is that we are using the rent on that housing stock to reinvest in decarbonisation. It is one of our major priorities and decarbonisation of our current stock of council homes is a priority and we are using some of that council rent revenue to make that investment.