Kent County Council’s plans to cut its carbon emissions have received a major boost with the award of over £21 million in funding.
KCC has committed to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 for its own services and buildings with major energy projects identified as the way to achieve this goal.
These projects include two solar parks, solar panels on KCC buildings, further funding for a Maidstone Heat Network, heat pumps and switching more lights to LED.
Together, these will reduce carbon emissions from KCC’s estate by 40%, removing 7,097 tonnes of CO2. KCC successfully reduced carbon emissions by 50% between 2010 and 2020.
KCC Cabinet Member for Environment Susan Carey said: “This is the best possible news. The award of these grants shows the strength of these projects. It’s also a vote of confidence in KCC’s ability to deliver at speed.
“Our work on biodiversity, natural solutions, adaptation to climate change, to increase active travel, reduce fuel poverty and generally make Kent a better place to live is in addition to this specific goal of reaching Net Zero for KCC’s services and buildings.
“As well as reducing C02, we will be lowering our energy spend by around £226,000 a year and we will receive an income from the two solar parks, providing £51 million over the next 30 years.
“We also expect these projects to stimulate the low carbon economy in Kent, creating 125 local jobs as well as creating key development infrastructure to meet future energy challenges such as security of supply.
“We’re also expecting a further £1.2m for energy saving projects at Kent’s schools.”
KCC has installed over 1,000 solar panels on buildings ranging from the Cyclopark in Gravesend to the Highways Depot at Ashford and over 100 schools.
Last year, a further 1,300 solar panels went into operation at five KCC buildings taking the total to nearly 2,500.
In July 2020, KCC set an accelerated target of net-zero emissions by 2030 for its operations and buildings.
The grant money comes from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund from Salix Finance on behalf of the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The projects are part of the Kent Environment Strategy (KES) and the Energy and Low Emissions Strategy (ELES).