Agenda item

Power Purchase Agreement

For the committee to review the opportunity to enter into negotiations with the Low Carbon Hub and other Oxfordshire Councils, on a potential Power Purchase Agreement. Committee to make recommendations to Cabinet


Corporate energy officer Heather Saunders introduced the report to the committee.


The paper is for the committee’s consideration. A Power Purchase Agreement, or PPA, could be an element, along with a broad portfolio of projects, to help achieve the council’s carbon neutral target.

The first priority, from our climate emergency one-year work programme, is that we will aim to reduce energy use from our operations, and to install renewable technologies on site. These actions alone are unlikely to bring our carbon emissions to zero, so further options need to be considered. A PPA is a mechanism for matching zero carbon electricity generation at a new renewable energy asset with the council’s energy use. It then allows us to declare zero carbon emissions for the contracted energy. If a new renewable energy asset is in South Oxfordshire, this also has additional local benefits. We therefore wish to enter into discussions with other Oxfordshire Councils and other external parties to identify the opportunities available.

As written in the report, there will be a range of financial and procurement issues to resolve, so no commitment has been made yet.

There is no conflict between these proposals and the parallel process of procuring gas and electricity for the council’s properties.

We realise this is a complex proposal, and we have set out the key issues in the paper, and we welcome questions.


Councillors commented on the following:

           The difficulty of being truly green.

           Sleeving was discussed, we need to find out if the costs are viable. Sleeving has to happen as there has to be a third party for balancing, the energy can’t just come from the generator.

           It was asked if battery storage could be counted towards this. The officer confirmed that this report is not about investing, the report is about enabling our emissions to be carbon neutral by contracting with an asset that hasn’t allocated its emissions to another party.

           How are discussions with other parties going? Are Parish councils included? Officer confirmed there has been one meeting so far with Oxfordshire County Council (OCC). It will be reported back to the chair when it is confirmed that discussions have been had with Chief Financial Officers.

           What is the benefit of having a local supplier? Officer confirmed we have Oxfordshire targets, so a local supplier benefits that, and the local economy. It was confirmed that if contracting with a wind farm further away, we could still benefit from the certification, but we will look at local options first. Locally sourced assets reduces transmission losses.

           Point 24 in the report – regarding 70% of council’s energy demand is from leisure centres. Our contractor pays the energy bills for leisure centres. We include leisure centres in our emissions. Our demand is currently small. If we can add the leisure demand we can have a more complex arrangement with investment and a PPA in the same project. Investment takes several years, but right now we aren’t responsible for leisure centre energy bills.

           Who are the other organisations/commercial partners to be involved? Officer responded this is other organisations who are part of the PPA.


The committee agree with the recommendation that PPA should be explored, with added wording to include larger parish councils and town councils.

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