Council looks to gas and wind in energy cut drive

Derry City Council plans to harness landfill gas and trial wind power as part of a drive to cut the consumption of energy.

A spokeswoman for the local authority says the council is committed to cutting its energy use and says at present ratepayers shelve out around £750,000 per year on energy.

Figures from the north’s Energy Performance Unit, covering the year 2008/09, reveal Derry City Council used almost 40million kilowatt hours(KwH) of energy to power its 90 plus public buildings - with the greatest reliance on gas, electricity and oil.

The spokeswoman says since 2006, the council has cut its energy consumption by 18% - moves that have saved around £200,000 per annum.

But she says the council hopes to cut its energy use even further.

“The Council is currently planning to initiate a number of energy saving projects including the rationalization of heating plants, the upgrading of its heating control systems and building insulation, review of incoming voltage regulation, valve jacket insulation, solar water heating, a district heating pilot project, landfill gas utilization and a small scale wind turbine project.”

The spokeswoman says over recent years moves to cut energy use have included the conversion of existing boiler plants to natural gas, the installation and promotion of energy efficient lighting schemes and the installation of timers on photocopiers and printers.

Meanwhile the north’s Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster yesterday launched a new sustainable energy campaign - “Energy Wise’ - aimed at encouraging every household to cut their energy use.

“I would encourage everyone to become more Energy Wise. It’s not about making huge changes to our daily lives but about the small changes, which together will make a difference to our purses. The Energy Wise messages are vital to helping us all save money and I hope this campaign will empower people to take positive action.”

The campaign, which includes television adverts, highlights small changes that the public can make to save money on energy costs such as insulating lofts, using energy saving light bulbs and switching off appliances when not in use.