16 Mar 2022

Leeds City Council’s executive board approves proposals to counter rising energy costs

Best council Executive board Energy Climate change

Senior members of Leeds City Council’s executive board have approved proposals for a revised gas and electricity purchasing strategy which will cover a four year future timeframe.

The meeting, which is being held at the city’s Civic Hall today (Wednesday 16 March), heard how a range of political and economic factors, and most recently the situation in Ukraine, have caused energy prices to increase to unprecedented levels, resulting in major anticipated budget pressures in the upcoming years.

Councillors have now approved a strategy which will see the council buying energy for future years such that 85% of the council’s volume requirement is fixed on price ahead of the period for which it is required. The council already has an approved strategy for forward purchasing a proportion of its gas and electricity requirement however, the council, like most others, is increasingly exposed to the existing very high market prices, so the ability to fix prices further into the future is essential to mitigate any further cost rises. 

In last month’s executive board, councillors approved a new Energy Strategy and Action Plan (ESAP). The ESAP includes commitments to reduce the energy the council uses by investing further in technologies such as solar, LED lighting and alternative heating sources.

The overall aim of the ESAP is for the council’s electricity consumption to be 100 per cent from zero carbon sources by 2030 in line with the declared climate emergency ambition. It sets out a proposed pathway for the council to minimise the environmental and financial costs of its energy usage, with the key outcomes to deliver a range of social, environmental and economic benefits as follows: reduced greenhouse gas emissions; contribute towards air quality improvements; ensure better controlled and managed buildings; achieve better energy cost certainty and stability; increase investment in local low carbon energy generation and increase local employment and skills development via the green economy.

As well as the environmental benefits, this new approach will be vital in ensuring the council has greater budget certainty for an increasing proportion of its energy rather than being exposed to the short-term volatility of market prices.

The link to the full report can be found here.

Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for resources said:

“As everyone is aware the current challenging circumstances around the world are leading to significant increases in energy prices.  We are determined to continue to get best value for the city and by planning ahead and having greater flexibility to fix our energy costs further ahead, we can be more proactive in safeguarding the council against continued increases in market prices and against budget instability.  We are also working alongside our partners who are facing similar circumstances as we work together to mitigate these increases.”

Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member for infrastructure and climate said:

“The Energy Strategy and Action Plan which was approved at last month’s executive board will look at the issue more strategically and sets out our ambition for the council’s electricity consumption to come from only zero carbon sources by 2030. In terms of Best City priorities, these proposals and the wider ESAP will contribute to promoting more competitive, less wasteful, more resource efficient, low carbon economy, and building longer-term economic resilience.”

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team