New funding competition aims to support councils to electrify their depots 

Electric bin lorry charging at Nottingham City Council's DepotA new funding competition has launched this week by the Midlands Net Zero Hub to assist local authorities in the Midlands to decarbonise their depots. Following the publication of the Electrification of Council Depots guide, up to £25,000 of grant funding is available through the competition to help cover the cost of developing an investable business case for their electric depot project. 

The scope and specification of the studies will be defined by applicants which will enable the studies to be tailored to the specific requirements of the authority. The scope may range from techno-economic feasibility study to a full business case but, as a minimum, will: 

  • Assess the feasibility of upgrading an existing depot site
  • Provide an outline design of electrical and civil works required (e.g. RIBA Stage 3) including drawings
  • Contain well-developed costings
  • Contain clear estimates of timescales involved
  • Provide a detailed assessment of the risks associated with developing their electric depot site

Many local authorities in the Midlands have set ambitious targets to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. To reach their climate goals, local authorities will need to transition publicly owned vehicles, such as refuse collection vehicles, road sweepers, and ambulances, from fossil-fuel vehicles to an equivalent low-emission fleet.  

Making a depot electric-fleet ready entails upgrading its connection to the electricity grid and installing a large number of vehicle chargers of varying specifications. 

These complex projects require strategic knowledge of long-term requirements by both decision makers and project offers. An understanding of the technology and technical language used on specifying depot charging systems is also necessary.  

Both the guide and the competition aim to allow local authorities to successfully embark on their electric-depot projects. 

Jack Hayhoe, Net Zero Project Manager at Midlands Net Zero Hub, said: “Our electrification of depots scheme empowers local authorities to make informed decisions when it comes to decarbonising their fleet. In the guide, we wanted to set out the steps needed to tackle complicated projects and ensure that investment decisions are futureproofed. Following the successful launch of the guide, we are now looking forward to supporting local authorities in the Midlands to develop business cases that will allow them to realise their ambitions relating to electrifying their depots.” 

The Electrification of Council Depots competition is open to local authorities in the Midlands region. Applications must be sent to the Midlands Net Zero Hub by 21st December 2023. Find out more about the competition and apply now.