Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  


Highland Council secures largest ever Salix loan in Scotland to fund energy improvements

27th May 2019

Photograph of Highland Council secures largest ever Salix loan in Scotland to fund energy improvements

The Highland Council has secured a £3.5m interest-free loan from Salix Finance to invest in energy efficiency measures across the Council estate. The loan, which is the largest Salix has awarded in Scotland, match-funds the Council's self-financing investments in energy efficiency to create a £7 million Energy Efficiency Fund.

The fund is ring-fenced for investment in projects that will reduce the Council's energy spend and carbon emissions. This will include switching internal and external building lights to efficient LED lighting, installing Solar Photovoltaics, and upgrading inefficient oil boiler systems.

Salix Finance is an independent organisation that provides interest-free loans for investment in improving energy efficiency. Salix is funded by the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and provides finance to public sector bodies to reduce their carbon emissions and energy spend.

Work is being undertaken by Council officers to refine the projects and determine the best sites to maximise financial and carbon savings. Thanks to these upgrades, the Council forecasts a potential saving of over £600,000 per annum on energy bills and annual carbon savings of over 1,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Lighting and heating upgrades are also anticipated to make considerable improvements to the working and learning environments for both staff and school pupils.

Councillor Margaret Davidson, Leader of the Council, said: "We are delighted to have secured this loan from Salix Finance. Investing in energy efficiency measures across our Council estate is vital to both our financial and environmental sustainability."

She added: "The Council recognises that it has a vital leadership role in terms of reducing the region's climate change impact to support both national and global emissions reduction targets. This funding from Salix, alongside work which has already been programmed, will allow us to go further and faster in terms of mitigating our impact."

Councillor Gordon Adam, Chair of the Commercial Board, said: "Advice from Procurement Scotland has indicated that electricity prices are going to rise significantly by 2020/21. The Council must reduce our consumption of energy to protect us from future increases to our energy bills and reduce this budget pressure, therefore helping us protect our frontline services.

"Securing this interest-free loan enables us to significantly increase the amount of energy efficiency work we can undertake. It is a really exciting opportunity and an important component of our Energy Strategy, alongside reducing energy use through behaviour change and increasing the Council's renewable energy generation."

The Council will operate the loan as a ‘Recycling Fund', whereby savings made from these projects will be ‘recycled' back into the Energy Efficiency Fund for investment in additional energy efficiency measures. The Council can continue to ‘recycle' this funding, without interest, for as long as it has projects that meet Salix criteria to reduce carbon emissions and energy spend.

To date, Salix has worked with the public sector in Scotland to invest over £51 million in energy efficiency projects, saving an estimated £146 million over the lifetime of the projects.

A Highland council paper on lighting in February 2018 said, "The LED replacement programme has seen the number of lights converted across the Highlands rise from 7,000 units in 2015/2016 to 12,500 in 2016/2017 with a projected figure for the end of 2017/2018 of 19,000 which represents 35% of our lighting stock. The programme has reduced our electricity consumption by 25% saving 3.5 million kWh per year and is helping offset energy price increases.


1 March 2018 - Highland council

Highland Council to generate income through solar energy

The Highland Council is to progress with plans to generate over £4 million profit and significantly reduce its carbon emissions by installing solar panels on its estate.

The Council’s Corporate Resources Committee yesterday (28 February 2018) approved a self-financing project using £2.3 million of capital to install 2.5 megawatts of solar panels on sites across the Council estate. The portfolio is estimated to generate net profit of £4.01 million over the course of 20 years. This is after repayments for the £2.3 million investment have been made, and accounting for maintenance, insurance, fees and charges.

Solar Photovoltaics, or Solar PV for short, is a technology that converts daylight into electrical power. Energy generated will be ‘sold’ to power Council buildings in close proximity.

Net profit can be achieved each year for the anticipated 20-year lifespan of the panels. It will also reduce the organisation’s annual carbon footprint by an estimated 1,000 tonnes per year.

It is hoped that this will be the first of multiple projects to generate income by from renewable energy on the Council estate. Solar has been selected for the first project as it is most efficient for the desired time scales, relatively straightforward to deploy, reliable, and market proven.

Chair of the Corporate Resources Committee, Cllr Alister MacKinnon said: "The Administration is committed to looking at new ways to generate income, make savings and for the Council to become more commercial so I am glad the Committee has given the go-ahead so work can progress."

The Council’s Commercial & Continual Improvement Team have been working closely with the Redesign Board to identify opportunities for how the Council could both generate income and reduce expenditure through energy related opportunities

Chair of the Redesign Board, Cllr Bill Lobban added: "This is a fantastic project which will bring substantial income to the Council. Staff and Members of the Redesign Board have done a huge amount of work in bringing these plans to fruition and I look forward to yet more innovative projects coming forward."

The next stage of the project will see the Commercial & Continual Improvement Team work with the Energy and Sustainability Team, Councillors and building users to confirm the optimal locations for the panel sites and coordinate implementation.

Why energy prices may keep rising


Related Businesses


Related Articles

Dlite-ful Graduation 2019 - New TeachersThumbnail for article : Dlite-ful Graduation 2019 - New Teachers
Saturday 22nd June 2019 was the Highland celebration event for Highland Council's newest DLITE PGDE graduates.   Fifteen students have graduated from the Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Education DLITE (Distance Learning ITE) course, with ten of them present for the celebration.  
Trading Standards supports Delivery Law website
The website was one year old on Saturday (22nd June 2019) and Trading Standards officers at Highland Council are looking to highlight its importance in the battle for fair internet delivery charges.   The site provides a one-stop-shop for consumers and businesses to receive all the information they need about internet delivery charges and to report bad practices that they might encounter.  
Highland Council to consider Counselling Service
The introduction of a service to support the mental health and wellbeing of Highland Council staff and councillors is to be considered by the Council next week.   A report to Councillors will seek Members' approval for the procurement of an Employee Assistance Programme for staff and Members which could offer telephone and internet-based counselling 24 hours a day.  
Temporary road closures for Highland Cross event
Road users are advised that on Saturday 22 June 2019 part of the C1112 Glen Affric Road will be temporarily closed to vehicles from 11am to 5pm during the Highland Cross 2019 event.   The area affected is between the road's junction with the C1110 Cannich - Fasnakle - Kerrow Wood Road and its end at the north side of the road bridge over the Abhainn Gleann nam Fiadh.  
Businesses urged to sign up to Trades Services Framework events
People working in Highland trades businesses are being urged by The Highland Council to attend a supplier briefing roadshow event near them coming soon across the region if they wish to tender for future Council contracts.   The Council has created a new Trades Services Framework for repair, maintenance and minor works to maintain and improve the Council estate and to help deliver the Council's property maintenance programme for domestic and non-domestic properties.  
September start for new High Life Highland Chief ExecutiveThumbnail for article : September start for new High Life Highland Chief Executive
Steve Walsh OBE has been appointed as the Chief Executive designate for High Life Highland, it was announced today by Donald McLachlan, the Chair of the charity's Board.   Mr Walsh will take up post in early September 2019, following the retirement of current Chief Executive, Ian Murray.  
Highland Council Trading Standards warns consumers of new "authorised push payment scam" targeting bank customers
Highland Council Trading Standards have been made aware that cold call telephone scammers have recently changed tactics and are now targeting individual bank customers to gain access to bank accounts and clear bank accounts of cash.   The so-called "authorised push payment scam" involves a fraudster impersonating a bank representative and phoning an unsuspecting potential victim by telephone.  
Strengthening town centres in Caithness and Sutherland
The Highland Council is asking communities and other stakeholders for their thoughts and opinion on a draft strategy to improve the town centres of Brora, Dornoch, Golspie, Thurso and Wick.   The draft Caithness and Sutherland Town Centre Strategy presents several potential actions for each of the town centres.  
Schools and Police call for information on suspected anti-social, alcohol and drug activity
Highland schools and Police call on people to share information on suspected anti-social, alcohol and drug activity.   Highland Council secondary schools in the Mid Highland area and Police Scotland are writing to parents and carers urging them to share any concerns or information related to possible anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drug activity in their areas.  
Director of Community Services steps down after 20 years serviceThumbnail for article : Director of Community Services steps down after 20 years service
William Gilfillan, Director of Community Services will be leaving the Council on Friday, 7th June 2019.   William joined Highland Council from Fife Council in 2000 to lead the New Community School development in Alness Academy.  

[Printer Friendly Version]