Examining UK Local Authority clean energy plans and investments
Local Authorities (LAs) are recognised across the governments of the UK, as critical to climate protection and clean energy commitments. Local strategies can contribute significantly to energy savings in public, commercial and residential buildings; statutory duties, planning and development powers are important in catalysing cross sector innovation for clean energy systems.
There are however, uncertainties about the future structure of local government services, powers and resources, and the local government role in energy systems is uncertain. In this context LAs are increasingly treating energy provision and demand management as a source of revenues and as an agent of transformation across the local social, economic and environmental landscape.
Local engagement in clean energy is a critical topic for society, and needs new policy and more research. It remains an understudied area in social science energy research. There is little empirical evidence about the actual capacity of 21st century UK LAs to engage, or about the suitability of central government policies and institutions for facilitating localised energy provision.
Aims to contribute to such knowledge through new data generation and analysis on what is being done now, why and what could be achieved with more supportive policy and resources.
It contributes the first systematic overview of energy initiatives across the entire population of UK LAs; in-depth analysis of energy projects, business structures and local solutions to common problems in a cross section of 40 LAs; additional context is provided by a review of LA engagement in energy across Europe; five recommendations to central and devolved national government; six actions for Local Authorities.
You can read more about the findings and recommendations in our reports below and in the Resources section.
The project team are very grateful to the 49 local authority officers who participated in the case study component of the research and kindly completed questionnaires, accepted requests for interviews and provided documents.
The project is led by Professor Jan Webb, Dr Dave Hawkey and Mags Tingey, and is co-funded through the UK Energy Research Centre Phase 3 (Research Council UK Energy Programme) and by the Energy Technologies Institute.
Report launch and policy workshop, London