Bristol City Council enter renewable energy deal to to transform the city’s electricity and heating

Bristol City Leap was formally launched last week at the City’s International Centre for Contemporary Arts.

City Leap is a partnership between Bristol City Council, Ameresco, an American company specialising in renewable energy, and Swedish energy giants Vattenfall. The deal was launched with the announcement that this was the start of ‘a 20 year journey towards transforming the way that Bristol generates, distributes, stores and uses energy’.

The partnership’s first goal is to spend at least £424m over the next five years on projects to reduce Bristol’s carbon footprint by 140,000 tonnes.

three commuter bikes parked beside harbor

One of these projects will be the expansion of the city’s Heat Network, which currently serves 1,000 homes and businesses across two districts. These networks already supply over 15GWh of heat per year, providing local businesses and residents with access to reliable, fairly priced, low carbon heat from sustainable sources. Solar panels and low carbon heating systems will also be installed at local schools and Bristol City Council’s social housing will be made more energy efficient.

Through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which supports the aim of reducing emissions from public sector buildings by 75% by 2037, the Council was awarded funding to connect Temple Fire Station to the Bristol Heat Network. This was done at no cost to the fire service and has reduced their carbon footprint by an estimated 12 tonnes per year.  

Speaking at the launch of the partnership, Labour Councillor Kye Dudd, cabinet member for climate, said: ‘Bristol has the lowest carbon footprint per capita out of all the core cities in the country. Since 2015, the council has reduced its own carbon footprint by 50% in terms of direct emissions.

‘The gap between what we were doing as a council and what needed to be done was absolutely huge. Quite clearly the city council doesn’t have the money, and the national government wasn’t stepping up to the level of funding needed. So could we attract investment into the city to deal with this problem from the private sector?

‘The idea behind a 20-year partnership is that it gives the private sector certainty. It’s not just a one-off contract to do solar panels. With that certainty they can afford to invest in jobs, apprenticeships and social value.’

And on the subject of Bristol, the city is now home to an Air Quality News Conference all of its own.



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