Tuesday, 3 Aug 2021  |  Reading time:  13 mins  | Read online

Welcome to the Global Local newsletter from LGIU!

Each week we’ll focus on a different global topic, highlighting innovative content and insights from LGIU and our members around the world.  

Sustainable energy

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This week, we’re looking at how hydrogen, solar, wind and other sustainable energy sources can be harnessed individually and in combination by local authorities to future-proof energy supplies for their communities. We’ll also look at how local governments can track their own energy usage and support residents who are seeking to use energy in a more sustainable way.
 
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting ways to empower Indigenous communities and how to build community wealth. If you would like to share a story on our blog or a strategy from your council, fill in this simple form or drop me a line at ingrid.koehler@lgiu.org.

Have a story to share? Get in touch!

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This week's featured content

Hydrogen as a clean energy carrier: introduction and opportunities for local authority climate action

By Connor Smith, LGIU Associate

Why hydrogen? Hydrogen is far from an unknown entity. It is already used around the world in industrial processes including glass and fertiliser production.

In recent years, interest in hydrogen as a “green gas” has surged, reflected in new academic and institutional publications as well as demonstration projects and national strategies being implemented around the globe.

However, unlike carbon dioxide or methane, the method of hydrogen production significantly affects the environmental sustainability of the gas. Low-carbon “green hydrogen” projects are still experimental.

"Optimism centres on the flexible properties of hydrogen and how it could be part of a 'whole systems approach' to decarbonisation."

How is hydrogen being used? In the UK, the ground-breaking Aberdeen Bus Project has delivered 65 hydrogen vehicles since 2015, while England’s first hydrogen double-decker buses were launched in London in June.

H100 Fife aims to become the first 100% green hydrogen for heat demonstration project in the world, supplying wind-powered hydrogen to 300 homes through the local gas distribution network.

Elsewhere, the Australian Government announced a $275.5 million investment into four clean hydrogen hubs in April, as part of a plan to become a major global player in the field by 2030. The EU published a hydrogen strategy last June, outlining investment, infrastructure and research plans.

LGIU Global Local Highlights

 

Online training: How to tackle the climate emergency as a smaller council
Local governments have been active in making changes to help meet vital climate targets, despite challenges to taking action, especially for smaller authorities. This seminar provides an introduction to developing climate emergency responses and an opportunity to share ideas and best practice.
Date / Time: 19 October / 10:00 BST 
Find out more and sign up here.

How hydrogen can help councils improve air quality
Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the world, yet its potential as a clean, green, zero emission fuel is only beginning to be realised. Buta Atwal, Chief Executive of Wrightbus talks about the potential of hydrogen in helping the UK decarbonise public transport and public sector vehicles. 
Read the blog here.

How Australian states are moving forward on renewable energy and reducing emissions
This briefing provides an overview of renewable energy policies and initiatives by Australian states and territories and what they mean for local governments. It includes useful information on renewable energy for a non-technical audience, as there is an increasing imperative to reduce carbon emissions across all areas of local government operations.
Read the briefing here.

The Granite City becomes the Green City
When Aberdeen City Council was named Local Authority of the Year at the MJ Achievement Awards 2020, judges noted the “brave, bold and imaginative way” that it had reinvigorated the city in response to a downturn in its dominant oil and gas industry. In this blog, Co-leaders Douglas Lumsden and Jenny Laing share their work, emphasising sustainability initiatives. 
Read the blog here.

Innovation & Inspiration

Curated case studies and news from around the globe

THE NETHERLANDS: Solar energy and organic crop joint farming trial proposed

A four-year pilot is set to combine strip farming and solar energy generation in Almere, east of Amsterdam, in response to societal concerns about solar farming taking over valued agricultural land. Double-sided, rotating solar panels would be used during the trial by the Swedish multinational Vattenfall to ensure that enough energy is produced from fewer panels. A specially-created algorithm would track the crops and energy produced and the impact of different weather and soil conditions. The project recently received a permit to proceed and, if approved by the company, will start in early 2022.
RenewEconomy / Sophie Vorrath

Related: Successful merino sheep grazing trial at Parkes solar farm featured in guide for Australian agrisolar Clean Energy Council

JAPAN: “Hydrogen Olympics” innovation intended as model legacy despite setbacks

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games seeks to create a model for integrating hydrogen into future societies, despite hydrogen’s use during the Games themselves being scaled back. Green hydrogen is being used to power the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic cauldrons, generated from solar energy from the Fukushima Prefecture. A “relaxation house” for athletes in Harumi Port Park is currently hydrogen-powered, while the entire Olympic Village is planned to be fully powered by hydrogen after the event rather than during as hoped. Partner Toyota supplied around 500 fuel cell vehicles for official use during the Games, while 100 fuel cell buses have been made available for public use by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
Recharge / Leigh Collins

Related: ‘Climate quarter’ to involve hydrogen produced from surplus green energy in Esslingen, Germany H2 View / George Heynes

USA: Floating solar planned to power municipal facilities

Plans to place 8,000 “flotovoltaic” panels on a 10-acre reservoir in New York state have received initial Federal Government backing. The City of Cohoes would own and operate the panels in the national demonstration project, which aims to inspire other communities to take similar action. The floating solar panels would fully power municipal facilities, with the remaining energy sold back to the grid and the proceeds reinvested into the community. The House of Representatives will now vote on the bill.
Troy Record

Related: Invasive water hyacinth and prickly pear use as biogas explored in Kenya Mongabay / Anthony Lagat

AFRICA: New data tool to make estimating greenhouse gas emissions easier and cheaper

Sub-Saharan African local governments will be able to identify major local emissions sources within a few hours thanks to a free Proxy Data Tool. Previously, it cost municipalities around 20,000 euros and took up to six months to create greenhouse gas inventories, exacerbating existing data gaps. Estimated emission levels from the tool can be used to develop climate action plans and benchmark cities’ emissions levels against others in their region. Governments in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, and Nakuru County, Kenya, used the tool before its formal launch. The tool was developed through ICLEI’s Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa initiative.
Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa

Related: Award-nominated energy advice hub saves Ghent residents more than 1 million euros in bill costs Eurocities / Nicola Vatthauer

Policy & Resources

To help you develop your own food strategy, we’ve brought together a selection of useful policies and resources from across the globe.

Read: This month’s Think Tank Review contains many links to reports on renewable and alternative energy sources. Previous reports featured in the Think Tank Review include:
– Something New Under the Sun, the Australia Institute’s policy recommendations and incentives for landlords to help people living in rented accomodation take advantage of solar energy.
The local climate challenge: a new partnership approach from the Green Alliance highlights the challenges local governments in the UK face in promoting net zero.

Listen: The Local Energy Rules podcast features twice monthly interviews and case studies with policy experts and community leaders (mainly in the USA), focusing on alternative and clean energy at the local level. For example, this episode features the City of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, which has a goal of getting 100% of its energy from renewable sources.

Share: World Energy Cities Partnership is a non-profit organisation based in Houston, Texas, USA, which has “recognised energy capitals” from every continent as member cities to help support a sustainable global energy transition. Aberdeen City Council holds the current presidency.

In Australia, 145 local governments have joined the Cities Power Partnership, including 10 councils in the Hunter Region, where coal mining is a major industry. Each council makes five climate action pledges upon joining.

Interested in other LGIU Global content?

Live Q&A Event: Treaty, People, Place

The state of Victoria is working with Aboriginal Victorians as equal partners to develop a historic first treaty with the potential to redefine the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Victorians. 

Join LGIU Australia on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples to discuss how this monumental process might shape local policy and land use planning in Victoria and throughout Australia.

Date: 9 August
Time: 12:30 AEST

Global Local Executive Panel: Building community wealth#CityHallSelfie Day

Each year, Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) celebrates the love of local government with its #CityHallSelfie Day on Twitter. This year, it’s on Friday 13 August. With many of us still working at home, local government folk who are serving citizens from anywhere are welcome. We encourage you to take part and check out the many wonderful snaps shared with ELGL through the years.
Find out more here.

Thanks for reading!

Next week, we're focusing on connecting with Indigenous communities. We'll explore how local authorities can work with and listen to Indigenous people to create a more equitable future. This edition will commemorate International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August, which this year has the theme: "Leaving no one behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract.”

Want us to cover a topic? Get in touch!

If you would like to share your story, you can fill in this simple form or drop me a line at ingrid.koehler@lgiu.org. Please forward this free newsletter to a colleague or share it on social media to help us reach even more people who value local government globally. We tweet from @GlobalLocalLGIU.

Want more content? Visit our website to access our Global Local briefings, blogs, podcast and more.

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