December 15, 2022 1.30 pm This story is over 16 months old

Near £250k for 100% green energy: “Too high a price to pay” for Lincolnshire council

The council is predicting a budget deficit next year

A near quarter-of-a-million pound price tag for Lincolnshire County Council to try to go 100% green is “too high a price to pay”, leaders have said.

The authority’s Overview and Scrutiny Management Board on Thursday was asked to renew its contract with the ESPO Electricity framework from 2024 onwards.

As part of the report, the authority revealed it would use almost 14% less electricity this year, but will still be charged more than 83% extra.

The report said the council’s energy suppliers Total Gas and Power already produce approximately 50% of electricity through sustainable sources, but that for the council to go 100% green electricity would cost an additional £231,450 a year.

Officers also estimated a further £100,000 could be added to the tag, but said all electricity companies were bound to become net zero by 2050.

Scrutiny members asked why the council was not funding the extra cash to be completely green.

“Given that we’ve got a green agenda on this council… have we looked closely enough at the benefits to buy entirely green?” Said Councillor Phil Dilks.

He said the council was a “leading player in the county” adding: “Reducing carbon emissions is obviously a priority for this council, so I would appreciate a bit more information… asking at what point would we say it’s worth going 100% green?”

Councillor Tom Smith, however, felt there was an element of comfort that energy was 50% was from renewables.

“£250,000 difference is a heck of a lot of money at anytime, especially when we are having financial difficulties.

“If I spoke to a lot of my residents and it was can we not change our energy supply but can we have some more potholes filled for example I’d have some very angry residents if I said no.”

Council leader Martin Hill warned against dismissing the money offhand.

“We’re currently projecting a budget deficit for the next budget year. So I think that is why the recommendation is that we stick to the current policy, but there are within that quite substantial measures where we are mitigating that.

“A quarter million pounds for not guaranteeing 100% renewable green electricity… I think that’s too high a price to pay.”