Highland Council is a Local Government Organisation that serves a third of the landmass of Scotland including the most remote and sparsely populated parts of the United Kingdom. The council has a wide remit that covers Care and Learning, Community Services, Transport and Planning & Development. In 2015/16 has an annual budget of £580m and employed 9.8k people across the Highlands in June 2016.
The total land area including all islands at low water is 26,484 square kilometres. This is 33 per cent of Scotland and 11.4 per cent of Great Britain. It is 10 times larger than Luxembourg and nearly the size of Belgium. The population was 232 950 (2013). The highest population 80k and is in the Inverness area and lowest being 14k in Sutherland area which has a land mass of 6071km. These variations bring unique challenges to service provision. For example the council has to service and support 5 remote schools that are not supplied by the national grid.
Highland Area Energy
The area has extensive renewable generation, Hydro and Wind along with significant new developments in offshore wind and tidal power. It has in excess of 2.5 times the consumption in the area and contributes significantly to Scotland and UK renewable capacity. The Highlands have benefitted from significant construction and supply chain jobs in the renewable energy sector in the Highland area this is estimated to be 5.5k FTE’s.
The Highland area consumes 2.1TWH of gas and electricity, which equates to around £220m of energy expenditure. The area has limited access to mains gas out with Inverness. Statistics show our household consumption of electricity is 20% higher than the Scottish average, and our electricity prices are some of the highest in UK. Statistics show Highlands and Islands have some of the highest levels of Fuel poverty in UK and Europe.
Highland Council Energy
The Highland Council consumes and purchases 134GWH of energy a year at a cost of £9.4m. Over previous years the council has embraced renewables across schools and offices along with its council house stock. We have biomass installed across 77 sites amounting to 16.5MW. We have also 1.2MW of other renewables. Highland council is undertaking a significant build and refurbishment program across its area and has recently opened new offices in Wick and Kingussie with plans for new Offices in Fortwilliam. The Highland Council has been refurbishing it schools in partnership with its construction partner to develop new primary and secondary schools such as the new Inverness Royal Academy, Wick and Tain campus. In 2014/15 we spent £2.8m on energy efficiency.
The council has a stock of 13.8k houses located across Highland with an annual Housing Revenue Account Capital Programme of £13m per annum. Of this investment, approximately £5-6m relates to energy efficiency works per annum. These works include boiler replacement, insulation where feasible and renewable heating options in off-gas area.
Energy Engineering and Sustainability Team
The Energy Engineering and Sustainability Team with in the Highland Council has a primary function of inspiring a low carbon highland, through;
- Energy Management; Meter Readings, Utility Bills, Energy data management, Building Monitoring Systems.
- Energy Performance; energy performance Reports Home energy efficiency Program, Housing support Quality Standards
- Building services Engineering; Energy efficiency Lightening, Biomass Heating Systems, Smart Building simulation.
- Carbon reduction; Improving heat use; Localised energy systems, district heating, behavior change.
- Achieving sustainability by reducing cost but investing for income.