Keywords: renewable energy region, 100% renewable energy self sufficiency region, West Sussex County Council, renewable energy in West Sussex County Council.
Sussex is a county in the south of England, bordering onto East Sussex (with Brighton and Hove), Hampshire, and Surrey (Figure 1). West Sussex is a diverse county, it is well known for its stately homes and castles such as Arundel Castle and Bramber Castle. Chichester is the county town of West Sussex, and the highest point of the county is Black Down, at 280 m/919 ft (grid reference SU919296)
West Sussex County Council has been placed in the top 30 local authorities across England, Wales, and Scotland who are taking steps to reduce carbon emissions and prepare for the impact of climate change. This county has committed to replace the use of fossil fuels with renewable energy supplies on September 2004. They are one of the first local authorities which sign up to a new initiative committing to 10% carbon emissions cuts in 2010.
Initiatives by the county council to tackle climate change include:
- launching the 10% commuter challenge which used for at least 10% sustainable transport of their work journey.
- the wood chip boiler in Buchan Park, near Crawley, uses a biomass boiler powered by locally gathered wood to heat the countryside center, workshops, and cottages.
- a 9 meter wind turbine in the school grounds at St Mary’s School in Climping which provides a significant amount of the school’s electricity needs.
- signing up ESPACE (European Spatial Planning: Adapting to climate events) – a European project to raise awareness of climate change.
- signing up European Regions for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Sources: a commitment to increase the use of renewable energy and boost energy efficiency in West Sussex.
- the Local Area Agreement (LAA) has been promoted by the government as a new contract between the county council and central government to deliver the priorities of local people. One outcome of the West Sussex LAA “is a better quality natural and historic environment for all”.
The county council plans:
- producing a climate change action plan for West Sussex during 2007/2008
- reducing the county council’s carbon dioxide emissions by 20% in 2010
- eliminate spending on wasteful energy by 2010
- continue to encourage residents to reduce their emissions through schemes like the 10% challenge, a scheme which recently won a Green Apple Award.
As the most wooded county in England, there is a huge resource available to generate heat energy via wood. Heat accounts for over a third of primary energy consumption, and biomass is only widespread source of high-grade renewable heat.
Buchan County Park
In November 2005, Buchan County Park, near Crawley, became the first West Sussex County Council site to have an eco-friendly heating system. A wood chip (Figure 2.) burner was installed which uses locally sourced wood to provide enough fuel to heat the Countryside Center and Workshops and two cottages on site at the park.
The burner is simple but has an effective way of using natural resources to provide essential fuel, and helping to manage local woodlands in sustainable way. It includes a high capacity storage area, reducing the number of journeys required to deliver wood to the park, thus minimizing damaging fuel emission.
West Sussex County Council’s Wind Turbine: Pilot project in Climping
In summer 2005, a nine meter high turbine with three blades 2.75 m was installed as a pilot scheme at St. Mary’s church of England School in the village of Climping, near Littlehampton (Figure 3). This area was chosen for the trial due to it’s close to an exposed and windy area by the sea. The green power project at a school is also one of the first of its kind in the south-east.
The energy created by the wind turbine is linked to the school’s power supply. Any surplus energy generated, during the school holiday for example, is sold back to the energy network. As well as saving the school money, it also provides a major educational resource for its pupils. As part of the project a digital display has been installed in the school hall which shows the amount of energy currently being generated by the wind turbine, the total amount of energy generated since the unit was installed, and the amount of carbon dioxide emissions saved. The school children will monitor this display board and keep records of the levels of renewable energy created by the wind turbine. This will part of the school’s curriculum. Continues monitoring will assess the performance of this pilot project.
Since 1st April 2005, all of the energy used in County Hall, Centenary House, Durrington and Worthing Library, as well as energy used for street lighting and illuminated signs on the county’s roads is sourced from a variety of renewable resources (Figure 4).