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.

The research:

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.

Local Engagement in UK Energy systems

Ownership models and business structures in UK Local Authority energy initiatives

Margaret Tingey ( 2018 )

Presentation

What We Know about Local Authority Engagement in UK Energy Systems: Ambitions, Activities, Business Structures & Ways Forward

Janette Webb, Margaret Tingey and David Hawkey ( 2017 )

Report

Scottish Energy Strategy: The Future of Energy in Scotland, UKERC response

Jim Watson and Mark Winskel (editors) ( 2017 )

Consultation response

Local Authority Engagement in UK Energy Systems: Highlights from Early Findings
UKERC, London and The ETI, Loughborough

Margaret Tingey, Janette Webb, and David Hawkey ( 2017 )

Report

European Engagement with Local Energy Systems

David Hawkey ( 2015 )

Working paper

Local Engagement in UK Energy Systems A Pilot Study of Current Activities and Future Impact
Survey of energy activities across the UK's 434 local authorities

Margaret Tingey, David Hawkey and Janette Webb ( 2014 )

Report
What We Know about Local Authority Engagement in UK Energy Systems

What We Know about Local Authority Engagement in UK Energy Systems November 2017

Report launch and policy workshop, London

Local Authorities and Energy Investments: Challenging Research?

Local Authorities and Energy Investments: Challenging Research? June 2017

Local Authorities and Energy: Research Findings Challenge Workshop Investments, Birmingham

What We Know about Local Authority Engagement in UK Energy Systems

What We Know about Local Authority Engagement in UK Energy Systems November 2017

Report launch and policy workshop, London

Local Authorities and Energy Investments: Challenging Research?

Local Authorities and Energy Investments: Challenging Research? June 2017

Local Authorities and Energy: Research Findings Challenge Workshop Investments, Birmingham