The Mayor and Cabinet will consider a landmark decision on the council’s City Leap initiative – a project to strategically develop, co-ordinate, deliver and facilitate a smart, interconnected energy system for Bristol – next week.
The 2 April meeting will see a decision taken over the council’s future approach towards strategic energy partnership and investment and whether to launch a procurement exercise to find private sector partners with whom to work on the city’s future energy projects.
City Leap was launched in May last year with the publishing of a prospectus featuring up to £1bn of partnership and investment opportunities.
It attracted interest from over 180 local, national and international organisations, including tech firms, investors, community organisations and innovative energy and infrastructure developers.
Officers conducted a detailed options appraisal over the last six months, with Cabinet being asked to decide on recommendations around building a strategic partnership with the private sector to support the city’s carbon neutrality ambitions.
Generating excitement and interest in the energy sector internationally, City Leap has cemented Bristol’s reputation as a leading low-carbon energy city and demonstrated a clear appetite for working in partnership with a local authority.
Councillor Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member for Energy and Transport, said “City Leap is an immensely exciting project that has been years in the making and builds on the strong leadership that we’ve shown towards energy and climate change over the years.
“The project is a unique opportunity to leverage the assets within the city to deliver clean, affordable energy to its people, communities and businesses. It will make it possible for Bristolians to take ownership of their energy system, using it to build better lives for themselves and the next generation.
“This is a council first and we’re very proud of the innovative approach towards public, community and business partnership that we’ve developed, which is something that central government and other local authorities are watching with keen interest. The council has made incredible progress, cutting its own carbon emissions by 71% since 2005 and we’re in a strong position to support the rest of the city to take action.
“I’d like to thank the officers that have worked incredibly hard to get us to this point and developed an energy strategy with the potential to change lives for the better.
”The level of interest that we’ve seen is very encouraging and will stand us in good stead to find a partner that shares our values, ethos, hopes and ambitions for building a carbon neutral Bristol”
Councillor Craig Cheney, Cabinet Member for Finance, Governance & Performance said: “We’re excited to see City Leap returning to Cabinet for what will be a big decision for Bristol.
“There are a number of reasons why we believe that working in partnership is a key element of the solution required to deliver Bristol’s carbon neutral ambitions.
“The council is aware that there is a real and pressing need for our city to increase the pace of delivery and strategically co-ordinate the projects that will deliver the deep carbon reductions that we need.
“This, coupled with shrinking public budgets, means that we need to find new, innovative and inclusive ways of delivering and funding the city-scale low-carbon infrastructure that will be required to deliver on our ambitions.
“The scale of opportunities and the city-wide action needed to support cannot be achieved without the support, input and consent of the residents and business community of Bristol.
“It is therefore vital that we fully engage with the city to ensure that the communities of Bristol have a meaningful say and, crucially, a level of ownership in City Leap and the energy assets it will deliver.
“These communities will play a crucial role in further developing Bristol’s energy system whilst ensuring that the diversity of Bristol’s communities is fully represented and able to shape the city’s future energy strategy.”
The City Leap initiative includes a range of projects including low-carbon heat networks, renewable energy from wind, solar and marine sources, as well energy efficiency, electric vehicles and smart energy systems using the latest technology.
The council’s wholly-owned energy supply company, Bristol Energy will have a key role to play in bringing all of these projects together and enabling the transition to a smart energy system by harnessing its energy supply expertise and smart energy innovation capabilities to put the company on a sustainable footing for the future.