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UK cities can generate cleaner and safer energy than the ‘big six’ – report



British cities can play an active role in supplying energy to citizens, while promoting cleaner and more affordable power, supporting the local economy and decarbonisation, a new analysis has suggested.

The report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) calls for cities to become “powerhouses”, by engaging in the energy supply market and financing low-carbon local energy projects.

The IPPR suggests a number of options to raise finance for clean energy projects, in order to help tackle Britain’s energy issues, lower bills for local people and create jobs, while also tackling the monopoly of the ‘big six’ energy companies and fuel poverty.

Nick Pearce, IPPR director, said,Local generation technologies like solar and medium-scale wind are radically transforming how energy systems operate, bringing to an end the dominance of centralised generation and distribution.

“This will create a system which is much more diverse and competitive. Cities should grasp the opportunity this presents to support local job creation and growth and enhance the resilience of local electricity supply. This will ensure that more low carbon subsidies directly benefit British communities.”

The IPPR highlights some examples from British and European cities that are already making good steps, such as community energy projects in Cornwall and low-carbon investment by Lancashire County Pension Fund.

Commenting on the report, Juliet Davenport, chief executive and founder of renewable energy company Good Energy said, “Good Energy is already working with local authorities to make this happen and we’d welcome conversations with more councils to explore the opportunities.

“Decentralised energy offers local power to local people – which is exactly what we’re offering communities through Good Energy’s innovative local renewable tariffs.”

John Sauven, director of Greenpeace UK, added, “Turning our cities into energy suppliers could help bring bills under control, slash fuel poverty by systematically insulating thousands of homes, and start to fill the gap in clean energy investment left by the big six.

“People would get their energy from a trusted source and profits would be reinvested locally.”

Photo:  Dominic Alves via flickr

Further reading:

New fund sees £300,000 to support clean energy projects in Cornwall communities

Community Energy Strategy launched to help local renewables projects

Why investors should consider community-owned renewables

Sustainable cities will ‘save lives’ and improve economies, says Bloomberg

The Guide to Limitless Clean Energy 2013


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