Core Cities call for more local energy companies

More investment is needed to help cities generate more of their own energy, says report.

Some of the biggest cities in the UK have called for more local energy companies, as part of a manifesto for economic growth.

The Core Cities group published a green paper today (12 September), entitled Invest Reform Trust, which calls on the government to devolve more powers and money to the rest of the country to help rebalance the British economy.

The report states more investment is needed to help cities “generate more of their own energy” and claims local energy companies will help improve air quality.

It adds the group backs moves to minimize energy costs for businesses, reduce the cost of decarbonisation and eradicate fuel poverty.

It states several members of the Core Cities group – including Bristol and Nottingham – already have “highly-successful local energy generation and supply companies”.

“Further flexibilities and freedoms around tariff arrangements, and the retention of fiscal proceeds to reinvest into cleaner energy and reducing fuel poverty would strengthen this approach,” the report states.

“Devolution of carbon levels, more ability to co-ordinate infrastructure planning, and stability in national energy policy would also help to resolve these issues.”  

The head of APSE Energy, which works with local authorities, Phil Brennan, told Utility Week there continues to be “a lot of interest in energy companies” since the launch of Robin Hood Energy and Bristol Energy.

“The main point to be made in terms of the report is that localities have a responsibility to engage with the energy sector for the benefit of their local communities and economies, and energy companies are one of a number of ways forward,” said Brennan.

“The idea fits with the wider context and the focus on infrastructure, in terms of investing in housing stock, heat networks, low carbon fleets and chargers, smart hubs and more.

“Councils have assets and resources,” he added. “The requirement for energy isn’t going away and they have financial pressures to address. The municipalisation of local energy can address all of these points.”

While the Association of Decentralised Energy’s director, Dr Tim Rotheray said: “This report rightly identifies the opportunity for cities and their citizens to play a much more active role in the energy transition; from capturing waste heat through networks to managing demand to ensure security of supply there remains great untapped potential.”