Budget cuts and increasing pressure on services have compelled Local Authorities to think of different ways to fill the ever-growing funding gap. Councils have been taking different approaches to this problem, depending on local circumstances. Commercial investment boards set up by local authorities now scrutinise ways to generate long-term revenues whilst maximising the benefits for local residents and businesses. These range from investment in commercial property and regeneration to one local authority even setting up its own bank! The focus on sustainable income generation is now acute with the number of conferences and events devoted to the subject testament to this. Renewable energy offers massive potential for local authority investment and support – and it’s an area not unfamiliar to the public sector, with councils being instrumental in setting up the first municipal power stations (Swindon had one in 1903). Today’s energy sector may look different but still provides the same opportunity to support local residents and businesses and create long-term revenues through investment. Public Power Solutions (PPS) was set up by Swindon Borough Council specifically to address this opportunity. Our first schemes focussed on developing solar on council-owned buildings, moving on to larger-scale solar farms on the edge of Swindon financed by the private sector. We developed a 62MW solar park for the Science Museum on a former airfield in Wroughton which is now owned by a number of local authority investors from around the UK.
STA Blogs 27th April 2018 read more »