Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke-on-Trent's bid for fuel self-sufficiency gets backing

Stoke-on-Trent could become energy self-sufficient after its surplus-fuel recycling scheme idea was accredited.

The city council is one of 17 local authorities to be selected for the "creative councils" programme.

Its idea to use surplus fuel, generated by business and industry, to power the city has been recognised.

The council claims the city becoming less reliant on the national grid will mean cheaper electricity and gas bills for residents.

The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and the Local Government Group will provide advice as to how this can be achieved.

Stoke's aim is to reduce reliance on externally-provided energy while attracting investment by cutting fuel bills, to inspire new businesses to base themselves in the city and safeguard existing firms.

Lower energy bills

Other plans include tapping into geothermal energy underneath the city, and using wood chippings from green maintenance to provide power via a new biomass plant that could be built in the city in the future.

Janine Bridges, cabinet member for city services, said: "The long-term plan means businesses and residential properties would be able to benefit from power generated from within the city itself, lessening the need to bring in energy from dwindling, and increasingly expensive fossil fuel supplies.

"A lot of work has gone into this, and we are grateful for the help NESTA can provide in helping work out the best way to allow the city to power itself.

"In the future, when we're successful, it would mean businesses could be attracted by lower energy bills, and that this incentive could pave the way for investment and jobs to come here."

Phillip Colligan, from NESTA's Public Services Lab, said: "This is an ambitious programme that has been met with a fantastic response from councils across the country."

He said over the next few months the 17 shortlisted councils will receive support to develop their idea with the opportunity to access financial and non-financial support over the next six months.

Five of the most promising ideas will be selected to receive "significant" financial and non-financial support to put their ideas into practice, he added.

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