County Council recognised for supporting businesses on net zero journey

The County Council has won a national award for its work in helping West Sussex businesses to invest in clean energy.

The authority came first in the ‘Enabler’ category at the 2023 Association of Decentralised Energy Awards for its role in establishing the Re-Energise Manor Royal local energy community with the Manor Royal Business Improvement District (BID) and Crawley Borough Council.

Re-Energise Manor Royal launched in March and is working to attract investment into Manor Royal and deliver new clean energy projects, such as roof mounted solar panels and batteries to store clean electricity.

This will help businesses to generate, share and use more clean energy to reduce their energy costs and carbon emissions, and move towards net zero operation. The community is delivering its first project, a 71kW solar PV installation, and has a pipeline of potential solar projects to deliver in the coming year.

Cllr Deborah Urquhart, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment & Climate Change, said: “Re-Energise Manor Royal is an innovative partnership between the public and private sector that is enabling companies to work together and take control of their energy supply, speeding up the journey to net zero operation in the process.

“We are delighted to have played the leading role in its creation with the Manor Royal BID and Crawley Borough Council and to have been nationally recognised with this award. We will continue to follow its development closely and with interest.”

The County Council’s Energy Services Team provided energy expertise as well as project management and financial support through the Interreg 2 Seas-funded BISEPS and LECSea projects. This led to the creation of feasibility studies and the establishment of an operating model for the local energy community.

The team was also able to draw in funding from the Government’s Heat Network Delivery Unit and the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to create the community’s first business plan.

The project partners have secured £1 million from Government through the Towns Fund to support the development of new renewable energy projects on Manor Royal.

The launch of the Re-Energise Manor Royal local energy community is part of our commitment to encourage a sustainable and prosperous economy – one of our key priorities, all of which are underpinned by a cross-cutting theme of climate change. This project is an important step in empowering our businesses to take control of their energy supply and speed up their journey towards net zero operation, something the County Council is also working towards by 2030.