(Title Image: Smart Energy International)
Tomorrow, Bridgend Council’s Cabinet will be updated on proposals to create a smart energy grid in the county (pdf).
At the moment there are two “showcase” projects in the pipeline – a geothermal energy scheme in Caerau and a district heat scheme in Bridgend town centre. Bridgend is one of only 11 local authorities around the UK shortlisted by the UK Government to take part and the only council area in Wales.
Subject to funding, the report says the pilot projects could get underway in the 2019-2025 window. The goal is to completely decarbonise heating systems in Bridgend county by 2050 through a mix of district heat and electric heat, which is hoped will reduce energy bills (therefore cutting fuel poverty) and Bridgend’s impact on the environment.
The report suggests the potential economic impact on Bridgend would be enormous:
“The decarbonisation transition is arguably the largest economic development opportunity Bridgend will have in the next 30 years. The Local Area Energy Strategy (LAES) considers that with a local focus on the decarbonisation of heat the economic opportunity for Bridgend County Borough would be between £7.3 and 7.4billion.
“The LAES allows BCBC to take a proactive role in that transition providing opportunities to develop the systems, technologies, services, business models, governance and funding solutions that will be needed and ensuring that Bridgend County Borough secures maximum economic gain from the transition.”
The new strategy envisages Bridgend becoming a “low carbon innovation zone” where new technologies can be tested and developed in the real world, with Bridgend becoming the centre of a new supply chain.