The public sector can play a key role in the UK Government’s new Energy Security Strategy, UK100, a network for local leaders focused solely on climate, clean energy and clean air policy has said.
The British Energy Security Strategy sets out how Great Britain will accelerate the deployment of wind, new nuclear, solar and hydrogen, whilst supporting the production of domestic oil and gas in the nearer term.
According to the government, this could see 95% of electricity by 2030 being low carbon.
Working towards helping local leaders implement net zero as soon as possible, but no later than 2045, UK100 helps them collaborate to take decisive action in their communities, with its members representing more than 37 million people across the UK.
The organisation said that local authorities can play an important role in:
- Energy efficiency and energy demand reduction
- Energy networks
On the commitment to double funding for green finance products from £10m-£20m, while working with the UK Infrastructure Bank to boost investment for energy efficiency projects, UK100’s Chief Executive, Polly Billington said:
“Local leaders are making a success of the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme to deliver lifelong low carbon housing. They have demonstrated they can deliver at scale and cost-effectively.
“Decarbonising homes should be a central element of the UK's energy security strategy and the best way to do it quickly, economically and at scale is hand-in-hand with local authorities.”
Another key area that local authorities can help the UK Government meet its net zero agenda is through decarbonising public transport, especially buses.
Commenting, UK100’s Assistant Chief Executive, Jason Torrance said:
"Local authorities have been calling on the government for more support in expanding and decarbonising public transport after local leaders across the country missed out on the latest round of competitive funding. The promise of 4,000 electric buses has also yet to materialise."
On the energy networks, storage and flexibility plans laid out in the strategy, Ms Billington said:
"Local authorities are key partners in upgrading our network infrastructure to be agile, responsive and make the most of the UK's clean energy potential, that they are not referenced in the strategy is an oversight that needs quick remedy.
“Different cities, towns and regions will have different energy needs and means of production, with local authorities a key element of the network’s future development, as recognised by Ofgem. It would be a mistake to leave local leaders out of the loop.”
Ms Billington welcomed the government’s plans to work with local communities to build and support new wind farms, she said:
“While there is obvious disappointment with the scaling back of ambition, the promise to work with supportive local communities to expand onshore wind is to be welcomed.
“Onshore wind is one of the cheapest and cleanest routes to energy independence. It also enjoys broad support across the UK. We know there are local leaders throughout our network, like Cornwall, who are ready to work with the government to increase onshore wind capacity.
"We also welcome the increased ambition on offshore wind and solar capacity and promises on slashing red tape to get it installed quickly.
"Ultimately, it remains the case that renewable energy, onshore and offshore wind and solar remains the quickest and cheapest way to secure our energy independence, reduce bills and progress towards net zero.
“The government needs to work with local leaders and communities to increase the pace and scale of the strategy's clean energy commitments."
You can watch the full PSE365 Public Sector Decarbonisation in Association with Liberty Charge virtual event on demand here.