Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

17.12.18

Leeds sets out plan to become one of world’s first zero-carbon energy economies

Leeds City Region is aiming to become one of the world’s first zero-carbon regions as it sets out a new energy strategy to meet the Paris Climate Agreement and provide a boost to the region’s economy.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have agreed an “ambitious” strategy which will take Leeds a long way towards its ultimate goal of becoming a zero-carbon energy economy.

The LEP and combined authority want Leeds to be come the first UK city region to meet the Paris Climate targets, and new initiatives will now take the city region two-thirds of the way to meeting these targets.

These initiatives include support for businesses to reduce their waste, water and energy bills, investment in local low-carbon energy schemes, measures to improve the energy efficiency of homes and vehicles, and the introduction of low-emission buses.

A new Energy Accelerator will launch in the new year, the first of its kind in the UK, providing technical expertise to bring forward and identify funding for low-carbon energy projects.

The energy strategy sets out plans to develop hydrogen buses, the installation of ultra-low emission vehicle charging points across West Yorkshire, carbon capture storage schemes, and the delivery of the landmark H21 project to convert the natural gas network in Leeds to hydrogen.

If Leeds is able to meet the Paris Climate Agreement, WYCA says this will bring in an extra £11bn for the region’s economy and create 100,000 extra jobs through the investment in clean energy.

Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, commented: “Making Leeds City Region a zero-carbon energy economy is a bold ambition, but if any region can deliver on this ambition it’s ours. Leeds has already been making great process on this agenda as a city, but by joining forces across the City Region our impact will be even greater.

“We have a unique set of assets to help the UK meet its carbon reduction obligations – such as our energy infrastructure, our academic and industry expertise, our partnerships across the north, and significant grassroots community support.”

WYCA and LEP say the new strategy is the latest effort to grow the region’s green economy, with past initiatives leading to an overall 38% reduction in carbon emissions since 2005.

The chair of LED, Roger Marsh, explained: “We are already leading by example as a city region through the clean growth initiatives we’ve been delivering over a number of years, which are making businesses more productive and households better off as well as contributing to reductions in emissions.

“The third anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement is, however, a reminder that we still have a long way to go if we are to leave the planet in a better place for future generations. I am delighted, therefore, by the level of ambition city region partners have shown in embracing our zero carbon goals.”

Cllr Blake will be attending PSE’s exclusive EvoNorth Conference in February to discuss, amongst other things, energy and infrastructure. Don’t miss your chance to attend!

Image credit - kelvinjay

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