Local leader network call for Net Zero Development Bank and for PM to meet energy efficiency promise

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A NETWORK of local government leaders call on Chancellor and PM to invest £5bn into Local Energy Recovery as part of the upcoming stimulus package.

UK100, a network of over 100 mayors and local leaders from across the country have partnered with Siemens UK on a new study which argues that a more “balanced energy system” is required with the right mix of local decentralised energy systems alongside large scale generation.

The call for investment in energy efficiency follows the Prime Minister’s speech yesterday and the urgent need for a national programme of home insulation, a £9.2bn Conservative manifesto pledge. Only £80m has been announced.

Commenting on the PM’s speech and launching the UK100 Local Energy Insight Report, Polly Billington, Director of UK100, said: “The Prime Minister needs to make good on his manifesto promise to invest in energy efficiency in UK homes, which are some of the leakiest in Europe.

“£5bn could unlock £100bn. That would help consumers save on their fuel
bills and the environment.

“A stimulus package that focuses on local energy will help rescue the UK economy and deliver on the Prime Minister’s ambitions of levelling up all parts of the country, and meeting the Net Zero target.”

Retrofitting energy efficiency measures and clean heat technology will be a critical part of Net Zero, as homes account for 18% of emissions, primarily from natural gas use for heating and cooking.

According to the UK Green Building Council, to achieve net zero carbon by 2050, we will need to improve almost all of the UK’s 29 million homes, meaning we need to retrofit nearly 2 homes every minute between now and 2050.

The group is calling for the establishment of a Net Zero Development Bank which would bring together all government financing for the transition to Net Zero and kickstart local energy schemes which are at too early a stage to be attractive to private finance.

The Bank would provide a single gateway to government support, replace lost funding from the EU within a more stable regulatory regime.

The report is the outcome of an 18-month programme of five workshops held across England (Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Leicester and Manchester) and expert interviews sponsored by BEIS and Siemens bringing together 327 experts from local authorities, business and academia to discuss green financing.

The report will be published in full later this summer but a summary of the major recommendations and an interim draft report has been released ahead of
a possible economic recovery package to be announced by Rishi Sunak.

It analyses the progress of the five regional energy hubs, set up by the government in 2018, which currently have a pipeline of 183 projects valued at £850 million.

However, 90% of these projects were still at an early stage of development and most of the projects are also relatively small scale, at below £5 million.

Analysis conducted by Siemens and UK100 shows that the potential pipeline could be increased by more than 100 times from £0.85bn to £100bn.

It includes £40bn for energy saving and efficiency in homes and businesses;

  • £10bn for renewables such as solar, wind and biomass;
  • £30bn for low carbon heating such as district heating networks;
  • £10bn for smart energy systems; and
  • £10bn for low emissions transport such as electric and hydrogen vehicles.