England's financial powerhouse, the Square Mile, is going green.
The Square Mile, London’s financial heart, is to be powered by a solar farm in Dorset thanks to an energy deal that could provide a template for other councils to decarbonise their power supply.
The £40m deal between the City of London Corporation and the French renewables firm Voltalia will help fund the construction of the 95,000 panel solar farm in Dorset, in south west England. Under the terms of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) the Square Mile will receive electricity from the facility for 15 years, slashing a reported £3m off its energy costs.
The 49 megawatt project is expected to generate enough green electricity to power the equivalent of 15,000 homes, or half the energy required to run the Square Mile’s historic Guildhall buildings, the Barbican arts centre and Smithfield market. The clean energy will also be used to help power the Billingsgate and New Spitalfields markets, which are overseen by the City Corporation due to their historic links to the Square Mile.
The City of London Corporation says the deal is the first PPA to be signed between a governing authority and a renewables company. The corporation says the solar farm will provide more than half the energy it needs to run the Square Mile.
The City of London last month set out new climate targets to become carbon neutral by 2040, a decade ahead of the UK government’s legally binding goal to reduce the country’s emissions to virtually zero by 2050.
Jamie Ingham Clark, from the City of London Corporation, urged other local authorities across the UK to adopt the “pioneering scheme” which would allow them to “play their part in reducing emissions without the risks of owning their own energy firms or infrastructure, and without the need for government funding.”