Bristol’s journey towards becoming a zero-carbon, smart energy city has received a boost this week as a new partnership has been unveiled between the council and the private sector.

Following a procurement process, the council has selected Ameresco Limited as its strategic partner to form the City Leap partnership. Ameresco Limited, a leading cleantech integrator and renewable energy asset developer, owner and operator, will work in collaboration with Vattenfall Heat UK, Sweden’s nationally owned energy company, who specialise in low and zero-carbon heat networks.

The City Leap partnership is aimed at delivering low carbon energy infrastructure, such as solar PV, heat networks, heat pumps and energy efficiency measures at scale, all which will help Bristol meet its carbon reduction targets of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. The partners will invest in the council’s estate to deliver low carbon energy infrastructure and support others, such as residents, community energy groups and businesses, to deliver local carbon reducing projects.

Private sector partners will contribute capital funding, including £424 million over the first five years of the twenty-year partnership, in low carbon energy and capacity and expertise in the delivery of low carbon energy infrastructure projects. The project will remove around 140,000 tonnes of carbon across the city in the first five years of operation.

Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for Finance, Governance and Performance said: “The City Leap partnership is a means of large-scale investment in Bristol’s energy systems which will help us meet ambitious carbon targets. The approach we’re taking is to make the most of the expertise of the private sector and deliver solutions at a scale that will have a real impact on the city’s emissions. The model ensures that financial risk associated with the projects will sit with the private sector partners and maximises the potential of the infrastructure we have in place, expanding on what we already have. The estimated cost of decarbonising the city economy stands at around £10 billion and this is a step towards that goal.”

 

Britta MacIntosh, Senior Vice President of Ameresco, said: “Our team is thrilled to be a part of such an incredible initiative taken by the City of Bristol that will hopefully open the eyes of neighbouring areas to the possibilities that exist within city-wide decarbonisation projects.

“The announcement of the Bristol City Leap project is the first time that a UK city has embarked on such a comprehensive, transformative plan to decarbonise an entire city’s energy system by 2030. We applaud their leadership, innovation and steadfast focus on this plan.”

 

Mike Reynolds, Managing Director of Vattenfall Heat UK said, “We are very excited to be able to build upon the strong foundations established by Bristol City Council in getting the first district heating networks installed in Bristol. We have big plans to roll out the heat network quickly and at scale to serve the people of Bristol with reliable, affordable low carbon heat. Our partnership with Ameresco means we are able to apply the right technology in the right area of the city – bringing district heating to where it is best suited, as well as individual heat pumps where they are more cost-effective.”

The appointment of the strategic partner and a commitment to finalise the arrangements will be endorsed by Cabinet on the 5 April 2022.

More information on April Cabinet and City Leap can be found on the Bristol City Council website.