Combined Authority Board approves proposal to provide funding for the Waterbeach Renewal Energy Network project
At the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Board Meeting in November, the proposal to approve £2.7m of funding for the delivery of the Waterbeach Renewable Energy Network (WREN) project was unanimously approved.
The Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service for Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council has made a firm policy commitment to decarbonise the fleet of refuse collection vehicles by 2030. Both Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council have declared a Climate Emergency, and each has established targets and an Action Plan to reach zero carbon by 2050. The funding approved today will facilitate the development of an integrated renewable energy and storage solution to serve the electric Refuse Collection Vehicles within the overall fleet at Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service Depot at Waterbeach.
In order to continue their fleet decarbonisation programme to meet the Councils’ 2028 and 2030 net zero targets, there is an urgent need for an on-site solution to enable charging of electric Refuse Collection Vehicles. With funding for the WREN project, South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council will be able to meet the Independent Climate Commission’s key recommendations for the waste sector to “roll out zero carbon collection vehicles” and meet their own net zero goals. The WREN local grid option will achieve significant carbon reduction for the region.
The project will benefit the wider CPCA area as it will provide facilities at Waterbeach which can be accessed by East Cambridgeshire District Council, who currently also use the Waste Treatment Park and vehicle garage services at Waterbeach. The charging facilities will be available to all other Cambridgeshire Councils. Furthermore, lessons learned, and expertise gained by the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service will be shared across the region, to assist other Authorities seeking to implement similar schemes through the RECAP partnership. The total cost for the project is £5,981,896 with the residual £3.28m being provided by South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council.
Cllr Anna Smith, Deputy Mayor acting in place of the Mayor for the Combined Authority, said: “Meeting the net zero targets for the region by 2050 and delivering the recommendations from the Independent Climate Commission requires fundamental and innovative change to how we deliver public sector services. The decarbonisation of the waste fleet requires electrification and pioneering energy infrastructure. The CPCA’s Climate Action Plan highlighted the strategic case for pilot projects to power our waste fleet with alternatives to diesel. The WREN project will enable the Greater Cambridge Waste Service l to reduce their Scope 1 emissions and showcase renewable energy microgrid deployment and will also be available to East Cambridgeshire District Council.”
Cllr Rosy Moore, Cambridge City Council’s Executive Councillor for Environment, Climate Change and Biodiversity, said: “We are thankful for the funding provided by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, which will contribute to transforming the way the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service operates its fleet so that is it in line with the council’s ambitions to reduce carbon emissions. This means we will be able to take the much-needed next steps to create our own on-site supply of renewable energy making decarbonising the fleet possible. Switching from a diesel operated fleet to a fleet that runs on more sustainable energy is a long-term goal for the service and we are determined to continue moving in the right direction to meet this goal as soon as possible.”
South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Cllr Henry Batchelor, said: “This funding is the final piece of the jigsaw and means we can continue to press on with plans for our solar farm. We are hugely grateful to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority for confirming their involvement in this pioneering initiative. This solar project will give us the charging capacity to replace about 20 diesel trucks in our Greater Cambridge Shared Waste fleet with electric vehicles, in the years ahead. This will result in a significant reduction in our carbon emissions. Along with the funding already confirmed by the Councils, this is another exciting step forward in plans to produce our own clean, renewable energy to power state-of-the-art electric bin lorries.”