By Mags Tigney and Jan Webb, University of Edinburgh
The majority of UK local authorities have declared Climate Emergencies and clean energy plans, and all need Covid-19 economic recovery measures. This is a critical moment to capitalise on the multiple benefits of investing in net zero carbon localities.
Innovative developments are already underway from Aberdeen Heat and Power Ltd in the north to West Sussex Smart Hub in the south. Initiatives enabled by leading edge councils are demonstrating the integrated economic, welfare and environmental benefits of local energy systems. Industrial strategy challenge funding (PFER) is also examining the value of using real time data to balance local supply and demand for heat, power, transport and storage, helping reduce costs of reinforcing electricity grids. Valuable local expertise is accumulating, particularly in relation to the hardest decarbonisation targets for central governments - low carbon heat and energy efficiency in buildings, and transport – which require local scale action (CCC, 2019; IEA, 2019).
To mark the launch of our latest EnergyREV publication by Mags Tingey and Jan Webb on Net zero localities: ambition & value in UK local authority investment, EnergyREV hosted a webinar on Monday 28th September (slides here). Technical difficulties aside, key findings and recommendations from the report were the basis for cross-sector discussion. The event was chaired by Polly Billington UK100 and had expert responses from George Munson (Leeds City Council) and Patrick Allcorn (BEIS Local Energy Team) before wider Q&A and discussion with attendees.