The energy white paper, due to be published after LGC went to press this week, was expected to confirm the introduction of the 'energy performance commitment' in a bid to cap councils' CO2 emissions.
The scheme is likely to apply to up to 5,000 bodies, including councils, which currently fall outside the remit of the current European-wide carbon trading initiative.
Initial proposals published by the government in its Energy review last summer suggested that a cap could be placed on all bodies with an annual energy consumption of over 3,000 mega-watt hours, meaning all councils.
Ministers are understood to be undecided on the final format of the scheme. When first mooted, it was criticised. In its response to the consultation on the commitment, the Local Government Association said the costs of implementing the scheme could prevent councils from investing in other energy saving improvements.
David Mulholland, LGA policy consultant, added: 'We expect climate change will be included in comprehensive performance assessment and there will be a new indicator requiring authorities to take action on energy consumption. Our concern is that the commitment could be a replication of the new performance framework.'