Bristol City Council secures £1bn investment plan to help the city reach net-zero

Bristol City Council has finalised a new long-term plan to bring in more than £1bn of investment to make the city carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2030 which will transform energy and infrastructure.

Bristol City Council secures £1bn investment plan to help the city reach net-zero

Bristol City Leap anticipates deploying nearly 200 megawatts (MW) of low carbon energy

Bristol City Council was one of the first local authorities to declare a climate emergency, making its announcement in 2018. It has since committed to delivering a net-zero city region by 2030 and doubling wildlife in the same timeframe.  Also in this timeframe, it is striving to deliver a net-zero carbon energy system through its City Leap Project with Bristol Energy.

The Bristol City Leap Project is described by the council as a “20-year journey towards transforming the way that Bristol generates, distributes, stores and uses energy”.

The council has this week confirmed that contracts have been set up and signed with the organisations that will steer the delivery of the flagship project.

Bristol City Leap was approved by Bristol’s Mayor and Cabinet in December 2022 and contracts to finalise the energy partnership have now been signed by to create a new joint venture between Bristol City Council and Ameresco, with Vattenfall as a sub-contractor.

The overarching aim of the project is to bring in more than £1bn of investment to help Bristol become carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2030 by transforming the energy system and integrating low-carbon infrastructure.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol said: “Bristol City Leap is a big deal for Bristol. This is a world first and sets out a clear blueprint for city-scale decarbonisation for other cities and regions to follow. Bristol City Leap will have a real impact for Bristol residents including the ways that we power and heat our homes, which is perhaps more important than ever before.

“With Bristol City Leap, our city will become a real focal point for new low-carbon technologies and smart energy systems whilst creating thousands of jobs and ensuring a just transition. I’m delighted that we have found a partner that shares our vision for a fairer, decarbonised future and it’s great to welcome Ameresco and their partner Vattenfall to Bristol today.”

Five-year plan

Over the next five years, the Bristol City Leap project will aim to deliver at least £424m across infrastructure projects that would reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 140,000 tonnes. Projects include an expansion of a leading heat network to account for more businesses and residents and installing solar panels and low-carbon heating systems at local schools. The Council has also confirmed that investment will be used to make social housing more energy efficient.

To tackle its operational emissions, the council has previously invested heavily in renewable energy, energy efficiency, blockchain and battery storage. The local authority’s plans for mitigation across the city region involve working with local communities to embrace innovation in sectors like energy and transport.

The Bristol City Leap plan will also connect with local communities, with estimates suggesting that a minimum of £61.5m of social value will be generated over the next five years. More than 1,000 new jobs, apprenticeships and work placements will be created, while a new Community Energy Development Fund worth £1.5 million will be set up. The Council has confirmed that its staff and sub-contractors within the supply chain will be paid at leas the Real Living Wage.

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