Hi. I’m Douglas Johnson. I’m one of the Green Party councilors in Sheffield, and this week at Full Council, I spoke about our proposal for a new renewable energy strategy for Sheffield.
If you look at householders, being able to put solar panels on their roofs. And people do that for a reason. It’s about reducing carbon emissions. It’s about investing to save money and making the world a better place.
We think the city and in particular, the council needs its own strategy for renewable energy. And that’s why we’ve proposed this motion to get officers to start planning
ahead on how we do that. The first thing is always to insulate homes and buildings. But once that’s out of the way, we need to look at how we generate new, renewable, clean energy that benefits us all. So by having Greens in the room in the council chamber, we were able to lay out this motion, calling for a renewable energy strategy and debating that in full council, asking for the support of the other parties. And we’re pleased to see that the Labour Councillors put forward their amendment, which added to what we were saying and had some useful parts in it, and with the support of all parties, those proposals were agreed. And that means that it can now go forward and officers will do the work now of assembling what can actually go into a renewable energy strategy that can be delivered and make a difference to us in Sheffield.
And that strategy can include things like using the council’s buildings and its estate to install solar panels so that we can be generating our power, making use of air source heat pumps, ground source heat pump technology, using battery storage, so we can store, distribute, and use that that will reduce the bills in the council. And we also look at extending out to looking at community-owned energy with support to organizations and the voluntary sector like Sheffield Renewables. They’ve got some great ideas about how they could use their expertise and ability, and their resources to work with the council if we’ll just give them that room to do some work. So this is all about distributing energy generation.
There’s a really important part to this as well, and that’s energy security. At the moment. If we buy gas and electricity, we’re beholden to big power distributors, generators, and, of course, foreign suppliers like Putin’s Russia. By building our own energy-generating facilities in Sheffield, it means that we use power in Sheffield that’s been generated in Sheffield, and it’s distributed across the city. And that means it can’t possibly be a target. It means the whole system is safer, more secure, and more resilient for the future. And that’s really important as we go into more turbulent weather events arising from climate change.
So now we pass over to officers who we rely on to do some of the detailed work around planning this whole strategy on power generation. And we look forward to when some fruits of that come back, and we’ll eventually come back to the policy committee that will look at it in more detail. And with all these strands of work that can be going on in parallel, we want to take every opportunity to increase the chances of getting more clean renewable power generated in Sheffield. And that’s got to be better for all of us. It’s an ongoing process, not pretending there aren’t challenges there.
There’s a lot to work through, and we need some determination. But the point is, we’re having greens in the room. We started off this process, and as long as we’ve got greens in the room, we’ll
be able to follow it up and do our best to make sure that this comes forward and makes everyone’s lives safer, better, and cheaper.