Agenda and minutes

Resources & Delivering Value Scrutiny Board - Monday 6th March 2023 6.00 pm

Venue: Civic Suite, Solihull

Contact: Paul Rogers 


No. Item


Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:





Councillors: M Parker (Chairman), R Holt, J Tildesley, D Gibbin, N Moses, A Adeyemo, A Hodgson, A Mackenzie












Paul Johnson: Acting Chief Executive

Alan Brown: Assistant Director, Highways & Environment

Perry Wardle: Assistant Director, Growth & Development

Martin Clayton: Head of Investment & Commercial Partnerships

Lisa Whitton: Project Manager, Economy & Infrastructure

Alan Smith: Head of Growth Programmes

Alex Heath: Group Manager, Programme Development

Paul Rogers: Democratic Services


Mike Cooke: Vital Energi Limited

Andrew Hirst: Womble Bond Dickinson





Apologies were received from Councillor Y Clements, for whom Councillor A Mackenzie was substituting.



Declarations of Pecuniary or Conflicts of Interest

Additional documents:


No declarations were received.



Questions and Deputations

Additional documents:


No questions or deputations were received.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 436 KB

To consider the draft Minutes arising from the Resources and Delivering Value Scrutiny Board meeting held on 2nd February 2023.  TO FOLLOW

Additional documents:


The Resources and Delivering Value Scrutiny Board:




To agree the Resources and Delivering Value Scrutiny Board Minutes arising from the meeting held on 2nd February 2023 as a true record.




Additional documents:


To consider the draft Minutes arising from the Resources and Delivering Value Scrutiny Board meeting held on 2nd February 2023.


Solihull Town Centre Low Carbon Energy Network pdf icon PDF 757 KB

The purpose of this report is to detail the outcome of the commercialisation stage of the Solihull Town Centre Low Carbon Energy Network project (referred to as the “Energy Network”), considering all five elements of the Full Business Case for Phase 1 of the network development.

Additional documents:


The Scrutiny Board received a presentation from the Project Manager, Economy & Infrastructure, which highlighted key matters within the Scrutiny Board report and provided further context. Members were invited to ask questions after the Project Manager, Economy & Infrastructure had presented each theme within the presentation. Members raised a number of questions through the course of the presentation, which are summarised as follows:


Strategic Case


Councillor Gibbin queried what incentive was there for future phase customers to connect if there is a potential additional for connection cost of up to £0.50M. Members were advised that a connection could become mandated through the future creation of Heat Network Zones however, the greatest incentive was that there was no need to de-carbonise their own buildings at significant capital expense, the energy centre can also more quickly decarbonise further as technology develops. In respect to Touchwood Centre, the majority of the  business tenants already had their own electric energy systems in place and therefore would not necessarily be compatible with connection to the Heat Network.


Economic Case


Councillor Adeyemo questioned the lifespan of the Heat Network plant and equipment/power units, specifically in relation to the 40-year investment period for the Heat Network project. Mike Cooke (Vital Energi) clarified that each component had a different design life but are all maintained by Vital Energi through their Operation and Maintenance contract. An example provided was that the lifespan of the Heat Network pipes is more than 50 years, with heat pumps more than 20 years.


The Head of Investment & Commercial Partnerships further advised that fiscal provision for the lifecycle of the Heat Network components had been accounted for in terms of replacement and renewal of key components.


Councillor Adeyemo noted that the term of the ESCo was for 15 years only and questioned whether the Council would be expected to request Vital Energi to supply and replace Heat Network equipment at the end of its life cycle over 15 years. Scrutiny Board were advised that the initial ESCo contract period was 15 years with provision to extend for a further 10 years. The key test was that whether the company can afford to run for 40 years since that is the period that is required to repay the debt.  The company has the long term capacity to replace the Heat Network components.


Councillor Tildesley welcomed that the report provided to the Scrutiny Board did also include as part of the strategic case examples of other local authorities experiencing fiscal challenges through operating a Heat Network citing Robin Hood Energy, Bristol Energy and Together Energy as examples. However, Councillor Tildesley also stated that greater detail could have been provided detailing other local authorities liabilities with similar schemes.


Examples of Council’s operating successful schemes were also referenced by Councillor Tildesley, specifically the Aberdeen scheme, with supporting data over 21 years, and the Gateshead scheme, which operated from waste heat via small electricity generation plant but was a slightly different concept to this Heat Network.


In terms of risk and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Exclusion of the Press and Public

The meeting is not open to the public during discussion of the following items because they contain exempt information as defined in Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

Additional documents:


The meeting was not open to the public during discussion of the following item because the report contained exempt information as defined in Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.


Appendix 5a - Private Template Electricity Connection and Supply Agreement


Appendix 5b - Private Template Heat Connection and Supply Agreement


Appendix 6 - Private Buro Happold Financial Report


Appendix 7 - Private Buro Happold Cashflow


Appendix 8 - Private Council Cashflow


Appendix 9 - Private Customer Pricing Strategy