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Waterbeach Renewable Energy Network (WREN) Solar Project

Meeting: 06/10/2022 - Environment and Community Scrutiny Committee (Item 44)

44 Waterbeach Renewable Energy Network (WREN) Solar Project pdf icon PDF 317 KB


Matter for Decision

The Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service (GCSWS) for Cambridge City Council (CCC) and South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) has firm policy commitments to decarbonise the fleet of refuse collection vehicles by 2030 and CCC has set a target to reduce its direct carbon emissions from corporate buildings, fleet vehicles and business travel to net zero carbon emissions by 2030.


A key part of the decarbonisation programme was to replace the fleet of existing diesel refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) as the current stock accounts for 1,800 tonnes of CO2 per year.


The local electricity network at Waterbeach Depot had insufficient capacity to meet the charging requirements of an electric fleet as the maximum grid capacity would be reached now the two electric RCVs (eRCV) were operational.


In order to continue the fleet decarbonisation programme to meet the Council’s 2030 net zero target, there was an urgent need for an on-site renewable energy solution to enable charging of eRCVs. The Waterbeach Renewable Energy Network (WREN) Solar Project was how this need would be met.


Decision of Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre

      i.         Approved the council’s participation in the WREN Solar Project to develop an integrated renewable energy and storage solution including a ground-mounted solar photovoltaic array and battery storage on land adjacent to the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service Depot at Waterbeach depot.

    ii.         Supported the inclusion of a capital proposal within the council’s General Fund Medium Term Financial Strategy for a contribution of £1.3m towards the capital delivery cost, funded by a £0.1m contribution from the council’s Climate Change Fund and £1.2m from General Fund reserves.

   iii.         Noted that the contribution of £0.1m from the Council’s Climate Change Fund was match-funding to the contribution being made from the existing GCSWS budget towards the project.

  iv.         Delegated authority to the Strategic Director in consultation with the Head of Legal Practice and Head of Property Services to approve necessary contracts and leases to enable the implementation of the WREN project.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.


Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Head of Property Services.


The Head of Property Services said the following in response to Members’ questions:

      i.         Officers were working with a local contractor to supply electric vehicles. They were confident there would be no supply issues.

    ii.         Combustion engine vehicles were timetabled to be replaced at the end of their working life.

   iii.         Land required for vehicle replacement would be rented from a site next to the shared wate depot. Planning permission was in place for this.

  iv.         Thirty five vehicles out of fifty from the waste fleet could become eRCVs or ultra low emission vehicles through this project. The intention was to use a mix of vehicles to replace diesel ones in future such as hybrid and electric. Thirty to thirty five vehicles would be replaced through this project, possibly more later.


The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.


The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.


She said the Council had started a trial of hydrotreated vegetable oil fuels to lower vehicle emissions.


Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.