News The Bigger Picture

The energy crisis – why our bill are so high and advice on how to reduce them

Energy bills in the UK have risen dramatically since Putin invaded Ukraine and sanctions were placed on Russian fossil fuel exports. Even though the gas we burn to generate electricity, cook and heat some of our buildings comes from multiple sources, its price is set in accordance with international benchmarks. That means we have been exposed to severe price hikes. Not only that, but under our own arcane energy market rules, the most expensive wholesale price paid for gas dictates the base value of all forms of UK electricity, whether or not gas was actually used in its generation – including renewables. This is then topped-up by various additional charges, which include use of the networks and balancing the electricity system, metering costs and VAT. 

Domestic customers

Domestic customers have seen a tripling of their gas and electricity tariffs since the winter of 2020/21 which would have placed typical dual fuel bills at around £3,549 in the coming winter of 2022. However, government interventions will dampen these increases through the Energy Bills Support Scheme discount for winter 2022 and the Energy Price Guarantee announced in September, which will last for two years. Both of these schemes will come into effect from October 2022. Their net result will be to save around £1,000 off the predicted price rise for a typical domestic bill by limiting gas to 10.3p/kWh and electricity to 34p/kWh. Daily standing charges will vary by location and be added to the cost of units (kWh) consumed to make up the bill, but typically these are around £270 per year at present.

Commercial customers

Commercial customers’ demand for electricity and gas varies enormously. Prices are often negotiated on fixed price deals lasting one to three years. Many contracts are renegotiated in September or October and there have been reports that new tariffs have quintupled, with electricity tariffs reaching 80p/kWh and gas around 27p/kWh. Under the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, the government has stepped-in to offer temporary support from October 2022, by capping these tariffs for six months at 21.1p/kWh for electricity and 7.5p/kWh for gas. It isn’t possible to generalise on the standing charge as this is related to individual energy supply arrangements.

Advice on domestic energy reduction and where to get support

  • There is some excellent advice already published on reducing electricity and gas costs for domestic customers as well as a new government website that tailors information to your home. 
  • It is worth entering your details in the government advice site, even if you do not own the property, because the advice contains information about where financial support can be found to help implement some of the suggested energy saving measures. For example, people receiving benefits and state pensioners could be eligible for support through their Local Council and energy supplier under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, Cold Weather Payments and Winter Fuel Payments. 
  • Your Local Council may also offer additional support options available to those living in social housing. Councils should apply for funds from central government through a range of channels including:
  • Individuals seeking help should start by reviewing the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of your dwelling. Also find out how much energy you are using from the details in the bills from your supplier. 
  • Smart meters can be requested from your supplier for free, if not already fitted, and will offer accurate billing as well as an in-home energy display that gives a precise picture of gas and electricity use. A useful feature is the ability to set a daily budget indicator so you can see how your consumption compares with your average daily target spend, if paying by direct debit. 
  • The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) has published a handy guide to bills, with additional information for customers in the Western Power Distribution supply area. UK Power Networks, the network operator for East Anglia, has also published advice on how to save money on energy and water. Its page on reducing electricity bills links to additional services for vulnerable customers. 
  • Switching suppliers may still bring savings. For example, Octopus Energy is still offering incentives to switch your account (at the time of writing) through a referral link supplied by an existing customer. Comparison of energy deals can be found through links in this guide together with details of the information you require to switch and the process involved. 

Building energy demand reduction measures 

Whether you are in a domestic or commercial context, the remainder of this article offers advice on measures to reduce energy demand from your building. These measures range in their cost of implementation and the length of time required to pay back on the investment from the savings they help you make. If considering a whole building retrofit scheme, even if it is not carried out all at once, understanding a hierarchical approach to implementing different measures will aid with planning. CSE offers a useful guide to key considerations when contemplating a full retrofit programme. 

Comfort levels are related to the temperature in your room, as illustrated in this guide, recommending a temperature range between 19ºC to 21ºC for occupied rooms. In older houses, achieving these temperatures while keeping bills down will depend on measures, ranging from the simplest draft-stopping (fix any broken windows or ill-fitting doors, for example), to retrofitting comprehensive insulation to your existing building envelope. The list below arranges interventions in roughly increasing order of cost. The measures will have differing impacts on saving energy, which is also dependent on your circumstances and behaviour with energy.

  • Turn off appliances and lights that are not required to be in use.
  • Get a smart meter with in-home display.
  • Stop drafts by draft proofing leaky doors, chimneys and windows of your home.
  • Insulate your roof, hot water pipes and hot water cylinder if you have one. 
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs.
  • Make sure your boiler is serviced and tuned to your requirements. Bleed your radiators at the beginning of the winter. 
  • Adjust your combo boiler central heating flow temperature to 60ºC or below, and reduce the temperature to which you heat the hot water. Nesta estimated it could save around £112 a year and 172kg in carbon emissions. They have created a step by step guide explaining what to do here. 
  • Install thermostatic radiator valves, or if you have them already, lower their settings. 
  • Install some smart controls – such as a smart boiler thermostat, or smart radiator valves. Wet heating systems can also be zoned to affect different portions of a property heated by the same boiler. 
  • Replace single glazed windows, where permitted, with double or triple glazed windows and doors.
  • Insulate floors and walls. There are different approaches to solid walls and cavity walls depending on your building fabric type. Solid wall insulation options include internal or external insulation measures. 
  • If you have sealed your home from drafts and installed the insulation measures listed above, then it could also be advantageous to consider adding a mechanical heat recovery and ventilation (MHRV) system. This can improve air quality in your home as well as save on heating bills. It should be considered especially where any living space has been made airtight.
  • Install solar PV and or solar thermal panels where possible. See the section on community energy for larger and commercial applications on the NCS website.
  • Install an energy storage system to store surplus heat or electricity generated by your PV.
  • Replace your old gas or oil-fired boiler with a heat pump. You may be eligible for a grant under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

Damp patches, condensation and mould are issues in many homes that have reduced ventilation or are unheated in places. As well as saving your heating bills this needs to be addressed quickly, especially where draft proofing has reduced ventilation to a minimum.

For many years, the economics of energy reduction have not been correctly aligned. Energy was cheap, in relative terms, and insulation measures looked expensive in comparison. That situation has now changed dramatically. Increased energy prices, although painful, are provoking many people and businesses to review their energy use and consider investing in reduction measures. Any actions you take after reading this article will be part of that societal shift. We must all become more energy efficient to meet our climate change reduction obligations and there are encouraging signs that more and more people are now ready to make the necessary shifts in behaviour and investment.  


NCS Newsletter June 2022

Norwich Community Solar logo


Welcome to the NCS Newsletter keeping members and supporters up to date with projects, meetings, and events of interest to community energy!



A role for Norwich Community Solar?

The 2021 AGM meeting noted that NCS has yet to initiate a project, held back by unfavourable changes to UK energy policy.

The main challenge has been the withdrawal of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) to new applicants in 2019. The FIT made solar projects economically attractive by providing an attractive guaranteed price for renewable electricity fed-in to the national grid. Without the FIT, rates of return on surplus (exported) renewable  energy from its replacement (the so-called ‘Smart Export Guarantee’) are much lower, meaning  considerably longer payback periods and greater reluctance to invest.

If all electricity generated on site is not consumed, options then are either to arrange a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a nearby consumer or consumers with sufficient aggregate demand, or investment in storage capacity. The former is complex, the latter further extends the payback period.

That was then. If the inadequate response to the climate emergency were not enough, since February this year the invasion of Ukraine by Russia has laid bare the failure of UK energy policy to build a resilient low carbon energy system over a period of decades. Despite progress in the deployment of renewables, we still remain dangerously exposed to hydrocarbon’s repeated market crises and other forces outside our control.

In the latest symptom of this systematic failure, current projections for the energy price cap suggest annual household energy bills of £2,800 by October.

This was the background to the 2022 AGM on 23 April, which provided an opportunity to discuss and review the decision of the 2021 AGM to allow until the end of May 2022 to find a way forward for NCS by identifying if there is a role for the Community Benefit Society, or a modified version.

What has NCS achieved since the last AGM?

NCS-lead UK Solar Mobility Hubs study

In April 2021 an opportunity arose to bid for funding through the UK Government Community Renewal Fund (CRF). This appeared a way forward for NCS with encouragement to submit a bid through Norfolk County Council who provided guidance and support.

A significant amount of work went into developing a project in close collaboration with RenEnergy of Blofield Heath. The proposed “UK Solar Mobility Hubs” study planned to offer a scalable, national framework for decarbonisation, skills transfer and rural connectivity to address the lack of public EV charging points. The proposal was to focus on community car parks, such as Park and Ride (P&R), city centre and remote/rural car parks, offering an array of potential recharging spaces nationally. It could also enable the expansion of EV bus services, currently constrained by the lack of suitable rapid recharging facilities at the end of routes, such as in P&R car parks.

The bid was submitted in June. It was not until the beginning of November that we heard we had been unsuccessful.

Whilst disappointing, the experience provided the opportunity to work together with RenEnergy on a significant bid for government funding. In the course of developing the plan we were able to demonstrate NCS’s capabilities to partner organisations and help raise the profile of NCS. We remain open to similar opportunities and are maintaining a watch for other funding possibilities.

Norwich Climate Commission

We noted in the last newsletter that applications had closed to become a volunteer Norwich Climate Commissioner. Commissioners represent the public, private, and third sectors, alongside local communities in the commission’s work to generate awareness and use of best practice to support the city’s environmental targets.

Two NCS members, Nigel Hargreaves and John Moore have become part of the newly formed Norwich Climate Commission, which has a mandate under the City Council in partnership with the Tyndall Centre at UEA as an independent advisory body to offer the city council guidance on mitigating and adapting to climate change with respect to its aim under the Norwich 2040 City Vision to shifting to clean energy by 2040 and becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

One of the first outcomes has been to comment on the Implementation Plan (IP) of the latest version of the Transport Plan (TP4 IP) put forward for consultation by Norfolk County Council, which is Norfolk’s Highways Authority. These comments were critical of the lack of detail and explanation in how Norfolk’s IP would reduce carbon emissions to meet the wider net zero target for the country set by central government – to which all regions must contribute by reducing emissions within their jurisdictions.

The Commision is also developing a workplan to show leadership on climate mitigation and adaptation actions that will offer guidance to the City Council in achieving its 2040 vision.

Solar Canopies for Schools

As also reported in our October 2021 newsletter, NCS member John Moore has developed a proposal aimed at schools for the use of solar canopies, typically over car parks and play areas.

Solar canopies for schoolsInitial assessment indicates that there should be a good number of schools that could “host” a solar canopy and use the electricity generated. The next step is to test-market the concept on a few Education Trusts to see if there is appetite for the offer. This requires some work to ensure that we approach the Trusts with a well developed proposal with clear illustrations of the concept.

Tom Feary at Studio 163 has kindly provided some visualisations and the next step is to develop the proposal to approach Trusts. Unfortunately this has been slow in progressing due to other time commitments. Solar canopies for schools

Any help – particularly where you have contacts in any of Norfolk’s education trusts – would be gratefully received. Please contact us using our NCS email address.

New Mills Yard hydropower scheme

New Mills Yard in central Norwich contains a former pumping house built over the River Wensum. It potentially offers an ideal location for a hydropower generation project and discussions with Norwich City Council continue to explore ways to take advantage of this promising resource. Negotiations have been slow moving due to the number of stakeholders responsible for the site requiring alignment – including the Environment Agency (weir and river water level management), NMY leaseholder and city council (landlord).

Nesw Mills Yard
New Mills Yard, Norwich

NCS have put forward a vision for use of a novel river turbine under development by a local company that could potentially supply a constant source of clean energy to a nearby housing development using a private wire. However, in order to move this project forward we have called on the council to convene the necessary parties to start moving the project forward.

Food Innovation Centre

NCS was consulted by environmental consultancy Pure Leapfrog with contracting and interior fit-out group Willmott Dixon about developing a community share offer to fund installation of solar panels on the roof of the FIC.  However, the timeline proved too tight among a number of other issues.

This highlighted the growing interest in exploiting mutually beneficial opportunities from collaboration between commercial developers and community energy groups. However our experience showed how important it is for the parties to come together at the project planning stage in order for the community energy group to have sufficient ownership and time to mobilise successfully behind the technical solution.

Recent research sponsored by central government reflects how local energy solutions can save money and create benefits for local communities if they are engaged.

Accelerating Net Zero Delivery

Net zero localities: ambition & value in UK local authority investment

BEIS Community Energy Contact Group

The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is responsible for UK energy policy. NCS Chair Nigel Hargreaves has become a member of the Community Energy Contact Group with other community energy representatives.  Its remit is to discuss issues and policy/programme areas which impact the community energy sector. The CECG is a strategic and collaborative forum and will focus on strategic, cross-cutting issues. The CECG has no formal decision-making powers.

The key objective of the Community Energy Contact Group (CECG) will be to provide a single, dedicated forum for community energy groups (and supporting organisations) to engage and collaborate with the government.   Officials from within BEIS and across Whitehall will be invited when the group is scheduled to discuss their policy/programme area and if they want to test ideas at the early stages of policy development. Other people (eg. from local government) may be invited to attend for specific items.

Nigel has proposed that the planned review of the Infrastructure Act, 2015 takes place to implement measures that would enable community investment in large commercial renewable energy schemes to be mandated, possibly as part of the powers by local authorities to offer planning permission. The aim would be to offer local people the chance of buying shares and co-owning large schemes that currently utilise our natural resources without any significant financial benefit to the local community. It could follow the model of community co-ownership that has been standard practice in Denmark since it started its wind energy revolution more than a decade ago.

Norfolk Local Councils 2022 Conference for Clerks and Councillors

Nigel Hargreaves was invited to present to the Norfolk Local Councils 2022 Conference for Clerks and Councillors via the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce Business Climate Leaders initiative.

This was mainly aimed at reporting on potential climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives that could be implemented at the grassroots level, including forming community owned energy projects.

Nigel highlighted the risks posed by a rapidly changing climate from a global to local perspective and described several options local organisations have to increase resilience. In energy terms these begin with avoiding the use of energy, energy conservation, energy efficiency and local generation. Measures span improving on organisation approach to insulation as well as self generation and consumption of electricity where viable. The clerks and councillors shared various projects they would like to see happen but many agreed that lack of funding and resources present barriers to local communities.

The future of NCS

Against this backdrop of continuing interest and activity, but no concrete projects, what do we want NCS to be and how do we achieve that?

The AGM discussed exactly this, with the following key points emerging:

  • There is no other active community energy organisation in Norfolk. Given the radical change in energy prices resulting from the invasion of Ukraine and the likely resulting potential for future renewable energy projects it was felt NCS should maintain a presence to be available to work with local councils and other partners to promote community energy.
  • We recognise local councils often lack capacity to realise projects. There are also procurement barriers where community groups do not feature in a procurement framework and hence do not qualify to tender. A role we have, therefore, is to build confidence and familiarise local authorities with our capabilities through networking and developing a professional relationship.
  • Getting a first project off the ground as a model of what can be achieved is still essential. This may not be with a local authority but a private company that demonstrates the community energy approach. However, we are reopening negotiations with Norwich City Council on the use of their Riverside Leisure centre roof to generate energy for the facility – a project we first proposed in 2018.
  • NCS also has a role to help create carbon literacy and raise awareness so that we can all speak the same language. Peter Ellington talked about his work with accountants on raising awareness of their role in tackling the climate crisis in the decisions they make. There is self-interest in approaching business decisions from a “climate angle” and this can ultimately lead to investing in community energy projects. The scope of NCS can, therefore, be quite broad to be able to then focus on community energy from a variety of different perspectives taking an advocacy, educational, and facilitation role.
  • We are still seeking support from our members to step forward to help initiate projects with the expert help existing within our community benefit society. With an energy and climate crisis unfolding around us, we believe there has never been a better time to mobilise community energy in Norwich and Norfolk!

Election of Directors and Chair

Finally, the Rules of Norwich Community Solar, require the directors who have been longest in office since their last election to retire, but they are eligible for re-election.

Consequently, Nigel Hargreaves and Tom Abbott stepped down as directors, with Nigel re-elected as Chair and Tom not putting himself forward for re-election as he has moved away from Norwich.

Community Energy Fortnight 2022

The annual national fortnight of events promoting community energy is about to begin! It will run from 11th-24th June. Events are hosted by community energy organisations and electricity network owners from around the country. This year there is a focus on advice and training in fuel poverty management, energy efficiency as well as stories about how successful energy generation projects have been created by grassroots groups. For more information and timing of in-person and online events, please visit the Community Energy Fortnight webpage.


NCS Newsletter October 2021

Norwich Community Solar logo

Welcome to the NCS Newsletter keeping members and supporters up to date with projects, meetings, and events of interest to community energy!

Sun-days Schools – solar canopies for local schools

We are developing an innovative offer to local schools. Most primary schools need to provide shaded space in the playgrounds. By using the same systems developed for car parks, we can provide shade/shelter for outdoor activities and provide zero carbon electricity to the school. Schools also have car parking space of course, that takes up a lot of space but generates little value. We can also offer to cover these with solar panels, providing more zero carbon electricity and also charge points for electric vehicles. This will extend the offer to secondary schools and colleges.

The initiative builds on the growing success of PV systems built over commercial and municipal car parks. It is an elegant solution to help reduce schools’ energy bills, with the added benefit of providing shade, and without the complications of rooftop installations. A car-canopy approach also avoids difficult choices over sports fields or potential future developments by leaving existing land intact.

Our aim is to develop a standardised modular package to keep costs down that is applicable to all school sizes. It will boost their resilience to energy prices and climate change while demonstrating a valuable learning opportunity to students.

If you have any insights that could help, NCS member John Moore is leading on this project, please contact him at 

Solar canopies

Solar for Schools Bonds

If you want to support solar energy in schools, the Solar for Schools bond offer is currently open, looking to raise £2 million for conventional roof-based installations. To date, Solar for Schools says its installations have generated 19,228 MWh of solar electricity, enough to drive an electric car around the world 2,399 times and avoid 7,802 tonnes of CO2.

Solar for Schools also works with pupils on educational programmes, giving them invaluable insights into the future of renewable energy generation. Norwich Community Solar has not investigated these claims and is not offering advice on the advisability of this investment.

NOW and NEXT webinar

On 7th October, Community Energy England and the Next Generation programme hosted an all-day webinar covering every aspect of community energy practice today with some brilliant speakers. It looked at a wide variety of local community energy projects, ranging from independently funded car charging facilities in villages and towns of the North West, to working with developers to implement a microgrid in a new housing development near Totnes.

The Brighton Energy Coop presented the development of a ‘credibility ladder’ that enabled their community energy (CE) group to get involved in more complex and high profile projects. Its derisking by ‘doing and delivering’ model is one way to attract Local Authorities to work with  local CE groups. Brighton Energy Coop has now found that subsidy-free PV is viable at 9.5p/kWh of energy sales for arrays in the order of 200-250kW installations.

A full recording of the event can be found on YouTube here and copies of the event slides are on YouTube here.

Community Energy

With a looming gas crisis and COP26 putting energy firmly in the spotlight, there is a growing urgency for alternative models of power generation. That’s one reason we are all involved in community energy: it potentially offers a faster route to decarbonization – alongside all the advantages of community engagement – if the Government would get behind it and provide a supportive legislative environment.

In “Will community energy finally get its moment in the sun?”, Coop News looks at the work of Community Energy England (CEE), which is lobbying hard for change.And you can check out the reasons why CE represents a faster route to Net Zero by consulting the CEE 2030 Vision and the current State of the Sector report.

If you would like to learn more about Community Energy in the UK, there are two new detailed reports available. The first, Enabling Community Energy in the North-East of England, looks to understand the structure, mechanisms, models and support that would enable the successful development and delivery of community energy projects in the area covered by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP).

The second, Cities and Community Energy, comes from Community Energy London and looks at the broader issue of urban community energy.


Community Energy England (see Community Energy, above) is also working closely with the UK government on its preparations for the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow (31 October to 12 November).

CEE is looking for 25 community energy showcases from across the regions and will be attending COP26 to show how community energy is essential to achieving net-zero on UK (and international) policymakers. It hopes to get a community energy event in Glasgow, photo opportunities and lots of publicity and it is convening a community energy bloc on the climate march in Glasgow on 6 November. If you’re there, or near, join in with your banners.

Find out more about what CEE is doing in preparation for COP26 and, if you would like to engage with CEE’s COP26 activities, contact Henry, the COP26 Community Energy Mobiliser:

Norwich Science Festival 2021

Norwich Science Festival 2021 returns on Saturday, 23 October and runs to the following Saturday, 30 October, by when there will have been 198 events across the city.

The festival bills itself as “a celebration of all things science” for all ages and all levels of knowledge. It’s a chance to explore the wonders of the universe, meet the scientists whose research has changed our world and debate some big questions with some big-thinkers.

One highlight from the 47 climate change and sustainability events: on the opening day, 23rd October, “A Bold Vision of Hope for a Sustainable Future” has a panel that includes Jonathan Porritt (4pm – 5.30pm: Blake Studio, Norwich School).

Norwich Climate Commission

Applications are now closed to become a Norwich Climate Commissioner. The volunteer commissioners will represent the public, private, and third sectors, alongside local communities. The commission itself is intended to help generate awareness and use of best practice to support the city’s environmental targets and contribute to the Norwich 2040 City Vision Covid Recovery Group and other key organisations, groups, networks and communities across the area.

Such initiatives aren’t new in Norwich. A similar forum called the Norwich Independent Commission on Climate Change was convened in 2010 and made very good recommendations – although, sadly, there seems to be little evidence of its advice being implemented.

Power Partners – a community investment fund from UK Power Networks

UK Power Networks – the company that owns and maintains electricity infrastructure in our region – has launched a fifth round of its Power Partners initiative, open to applications until October 25.

Not-for-profit organisations and community groups are invited to apply for sums of between £2,000 and £20,000 for initiatives that combat fuel poverty, or support people in vulnerable circumstances by increasing their energy resilience. For further information.

Big Solar Co-op

Looking for more info on how to get community energy projects off the ground? If you want to help make new subsidy-free solar happen in your area – or support others to achieve this goal – Big Solar Co-op’s free training events are for you.  You can see listings of events, sign up to be notified about forthcoming events, or catch up with webinar recordings. Recent topics include: Finding community solar sites and Approaching host sites.

Upcoming events:

  • Open discussion about How To Best Support Vulnerable Clients In The Current Energy Costs Crisis, online 28 Oct
  • Innovation Lab webinar with Bath & West Community Energy, online 11 November

Links & reports:

Other CEE Links:

  • You can find information about the RCEF and other sources of funding for the sector here.
  • Community energy share offers, including Charge My Street, Bath & West CE, and Carbon Co-op’s People Powered Retrofit.
  • COP26 resources/newsletters and CEE’s policy & advocacy activity.

Norwich Community Solar – our future

In the process of investing our time and energies in recent funding bids we have broadened our connections and strengthened our network of contacts with local councils, businesses and potential future partners. Current government policy and the regulatory framework does not make it easy to develop viable community solar but the context is evolving and examples in this newsletter show they are possible. We have to be ready to take advantage of the opportunities when they come along. NCS membership is healthy with now 89 members. If you are not already a member please sign up via our website: NCS Membership.

As a Community Benefit Society we also willingly accept donations via the same page!

Integrated solar and battery storage scheme in Norfolk?
NCS is keen to work with builders and developers to carry out a feasibility study for a housing and community integrated solar and battery scheme. Let us know if you are aware of potential for such a scheme and contacts for us to follow up. Please e-mail:

Spread the word!
Please share this Newsletter with others and your contacts who may be interested in supporting or getting involved in community solar. The more we network, the broader our contacts and the better placed we are when opportunities arise!

Norwich Community Solar · Church Road · Cantley · Norwich, NR13 3SN · United Kingdom


NCS Newsletter August 2021

Norwich Community Solar logo

Welcome to the NCS Newsletter keeping members and supporters up to date with projects, meetings, and events of interest to community energy!

Community Renewal Fund

We are still awaiting the final decision on our funding bid to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. As featured in our last Newsletter, NCS partnered with RenEnergy to submit a funding bid to the Community Renewal Fund (CRF) to carry out a study on the feasibility of “Solar Mobility Hubs”. See the June Newsletter for more information about the bid.

RenEnergy Solar Carport, Norwich

Smart local energy systems: unlocking net zero

The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) recently ran a webinar series on Smart Local Energy Systems (SLES).

In case you aren’t sure what a ‘smart local energy system’ is, don’t worry it isn’t a case of a one size fits all definition. Essentially it involves the intelligent networking of distributed energy assets, integrated around energy users and generators in a localised geographic area (as opposed to a system on a regional, national or international scale). Distributed energy assets, or DERs, can include energy storage, both static (eg. batteries, hot water tanks, hydrogen tanks etc.) and mobile, such as electric vehicles, or pipelines full of fuel. The integration depends on the availability of data which is usually provided by smart meters and digital networks that feed signals to control systems and markets to respond efficiently to the supply and demand for energy at any given time. For more information of the ongoing research to better understand how to define and build smart local energy systems as a means to decarbonising our energy system, the EnergyREV team discuss their work here and the government provide some existing examples of demonstration projects here.

The KTN webinar series was a very informative and practical discussion held over four days, 19-22 July. Recordings of the webinars can be found here:

The following is a summary of key takeaways arising from NCS observations and participation in the webinar series:

  1. An open and stable policy framework over time is required to support greater agility in regulating the energy space to create regulations at a pace consistent with meeting Net Zero by 2050.
  2. The long-term persistence of the policy framework would give confidence by removing some of the risk involved in investment to attract finance to clean energy and SLES. Laura Sandys, CEO of Challenging Ideas, in the round up on the final day also highlighted how this would go some way to lowering the cost of capital.
  3. We need at least five times the amount of money currently being invested per annum to accelerate the development of clean energy systems to stand a chance of hitting Net Zero by 2050 (Lawrence Slade, CEO of GIIA in the session on Finance and Investment).
  4. We need to connect, empower, resource and capitalise Local Authorities (LAs) to lead the way in local area decarbonisation, in collaboration with research communities (e.g. EnergyREV), consultants (e.g. Catapult and private companies), Network operators and peers from other local success stories – called for a ’Net Zero Local Powers Bill’:–Mayors-urge-Governmentto derive effective LAEPs or LACPs (Local Area Climate Change Plans). Note the current consultation on Energy Future System Operators recently announced.
  5. The UK100 ‘Power Shift Report’ provides a critical examination of what LAs need to tackle climate change but whilst there is public support for councils to take the lead, they need more help from government.
  6. National government is not good at encouraging behaviour change, which is what is needed. LAs are better placed to changing behaviour and have the experience (e.g., in public health programmes). Councils and community groups have the relationships crucial to leading a multi-vector approach to build a public consensus towards local energy systems. The benefits of local energy investment need to be explained and articulated for communities to be on board.
  7. MPs and civil servants need to understand and better appreciate the role of LAs. Local government needs to resolve political tensions across parties and demonstrate success at scale. Decarbonisation of heating is the biggest challenge where LAs have a crucial role to play.
  8. There are too many unnecessary and detrimental barriers to Net Zero by 2050 in the energy space, like VAT rules on clean energy equipment, and a tendency to focus power centrally. It requires an integrated whole systems approach, rather than isolated policies and strategies, to optimally tackle the climate change challenge. Systems thinking applied to climate, energy and everything connected. Consideration should be given for a national body to coordinate and support local energy hubs.
  9. We need to drive and prioritise local whole system action in accordance with the need to preserve local carbon budgets. Work done by EnergyREV on breaking down the processes and outcomes around SLES implementation into a theory of change to further understand mechanisms necessary to make them happen was very informative (see further outputs from EnergyREV).
Enabling collaboration

10. The benefits of SLES in terms of return on investment were presented by Prof. Jan Web from Edinburgh University. There is tremendous value in public sector investment, “so much for so little”, and she gave the example of an ELENA programme which required a return on investment, or leverage factor, of 20:1 and then attained an actual leverage of 37:1. In the following short video clip, she highlights that by utilising distributed energy resources connected to the local network, net zero could be met more equitably and satisfactorily:

11. Patrick Allcorn, Head of Local Climate and Energy at BEIS, stressed that when submitting for government funding, projects that support multiple agendas have an advantage: levelling up, jobs, etc.

12. Emma Bridge of Community Energy England in a session on trial projects emphasised a socio-economic report from Devon County Council highlighting the wider benefits of local community energy.

13. In the same session on community-driven energy system change, Matt Lipson of Energy Systems Catapult stressed the need for leadership and if it isn’t going to come from central government then it has to be local. This is where community energy organisations can act as trusted intermediaries to facilitate and navigate the many hurdles to successful local energy systems. A role for NCS in Norwich and Norfolk would be an obvious candidate.

14. Eric Brown, Catapult Chief Technology Officer, neatly summarised the three enablers required to prosper from the energy revolution:

  • Mandate – clarity on roles and responsibilities of stakeholders. LAs need to have a statutory responsibility for Net Zero. What additional powers are needed to fill gaps and for an integrated approach?
  • Funding and investment – LAs have funding challenges and competing priorities. Private investment needs to be attracted and deployed appropriately. More flexible procurement mechanisms are required.
  • Co-ordination and collaboration – ensure best practises are shared between LAs. The Catapult Toolkit to support LAs deliver their climate emergency goals is being prepared and will be ready in early 2022.

15. Finally, Dhara Vyas, Citizens Advice Head of Future Energy Services, raised several concerns regarding how local energy systems are rolled out:

  • Government targets are meaningless without mechanisms to deliver. “Easy to talk about but not so easy to do”.
  • Beware the gap between desire and practicality.
  • A danger that inequalities could be exacerbated – inequalities need to be designed out.
  • There is a need to take a user-centred approach, it’s more than just about technical solutions.
What success could mean
Graphic: EnergyREV

Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme

The Energy Saving Trust has been appointed by Ofgem to distribute payments from energy companies who may have breached a license condition and make voluntary payments alongside or instead of fines and compensation. Registered charities can apply for funding to deliver energy related projects that meet the scheme priorities.

The main priority is to help people who are most at risk from cold homes and high energy bills. But up to 15% of Energy Redress funds can be used to support energy-related activities aimed at reducing carbon emissions from energy use. These projects must focus on energy generation, distribution or energy use.

Projects must demonstrate:

  • measurable and lasting reductions in the carbon intensity of energy end use and accelerate the transition to Net Zero
  • have a realistic prospect of delivering broadly replicable benefits to existing and/or future energy consumers.

Another 15% of Energy Redress funds can support the development of innovative products and services related to energy that have a realistic prospect of delivering benefits to existing and/or future energy consumers and that help to reduce the environmental impact of energy use.

The Energy Redress Scheme is open to registered charities and Housing Associations that are exempted charities.

Further information:

Vattenfall Norfolk Projects Community Fund

The wind energy company, Vattenfall, are setting up a community fund to help communities in Norfolk adapt to, and combat, climate change. Vattenfall’s declared aim is to enable everyone to live without fossil-fuels within one generation. Following an online consultation to identify what Norfolk people think a greener, community-focused, climate-friendly future could look like, they are now developing ideas through planning workshops with awards of initial funding planned for 2023.

So, its’ something to look out for and participate where there are opportunities for an ongoing dialogue with the company. For a full timeline see:

The “Vattenfall in Norfolk” project website gives an overview of the two offshore wind farms planned off the coast of Norfolk:

Norwich Community Solar – our future

We have invested a lot of time, energy and expertise in our latest funding bid and we look forward to a successful outcome. In the process we have broadened our connections and strengthened our network of contacts with local councils, businesses and potential future partners. Current government policy and the regulatory framework does not make it easy to develop viable community solar but the context is evolving and examples in this newsletter show they are possible. Initiatives such as the Local Electricity Bill could make a significant difference if, and when, enacted. We have to be ready to take advantage of the opportunities when they come along. NCS membership is healthy with now 88 members. If you are not already a member please sign up via our website: NCS Membership.

As a Community Benefit Society we also willingly accept donations via the same page!

Integrated solar and battery storage scheme in Norfolk?
NCS is keen to work with builders and developers to carry out a feasibility study for a housing and community integrated solar and battery scheme. Let us know if you are aware of potential for such a scheme and contacts for us to follow up. Please e-mail:

Spread the word!
Please share this Newsletter with others and your contacts who may be interested in supporting or getting involved in community solar. The more we network, the broader our contacts and the better placed we are when opportunities arise!

Norwich Community Solar is a community benefit society (registered under the Financial Conduct Authority, number 7456). If you would like to join as a member or have any other comments and suggestions, please get in touch through our website.


NCS Newsletter June 2021

Norwich Community Solar logo

Welcome to the NCS Newsletter keeping members and supporters up-to-date with projects, meetings, and events of interest to community energy!

Community Renewal Fund bid

NCS has partnered with RenEnergy to submit a funding bid to the Community Renewal Fund (CRF) to carry out a study on the feasibility of “Solar Mobility Hubs”.

RenEnergy Solar Carport
RenEnergy Solar Carport, Aviva, Norwich

How can we reduce traffic and congestion in urban centres like Norwich? How can we reduce early deaths caused by air-borne pollutants such as diesel particulates? If you had an electric vehicle (EV) on a terraced street in Norwich how would you charge it? In any case, wouldn’t it be great if our streets were free of parked cars? A switch to electric vehicles (EVs) alone will not achieve a reduction in traffic. But a switch from individually owned vehicles, often only carrying one passenger per trip, to electric vehicles (cars & vans) available for hire or use from accessible community facilities, combined with greater availability of EV public transport, could be a sustainable way forward to revolutionise our mobility.

Our proposed “Solar Mobility Hubs” (SMHs) would be designed to overcome the limitations of grid supplies to community parking areas by reinforcing supply through on-site solar PV panel generation combined with battery storage. The concept is to supply EV charging points situated in strategically located solar mobility hubs for use by car clubs, hire firms, individual users, and commercial companies. The SMHs would be supported by solar PV arrays mounted on carports providing shade as well as solar power (see photograph). Connected by renewable energy powered public transport (electric and hydrogen) the hubs could provide the encouragement to move away from individual car ownership and offer acceptable and attractive mobility options. Our bid is for funding to explore the feasibility of this proposal.

Before getting into the detail of the bid here is a little background to the Community Renewal Fund (CRF). The CRF is a precursor to the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) which aims to match funds that would have come through EU Structural Funds if we had remained in the European Union. The SPF will be worth around £1.5 billion a year launching in 2022. The £220 million CRF for 2021-22 is intended to pilot new approaches in preparation for the implementation of SPF programmes.

Our proposed study is to prepare Norfolk for the accelerated uptake of clean Electric Vehicle (EV) transport by individual, public and commercial users through the provision of community, solar supported, EV charging points. The aim is to create a national blueprint for any Local Authority to implement.

This study is more than simply replacing existing fossil-fuelled vehicles with EVs. We need to reduce the number of vehicles on the road through a change in behaviour from individual car ownership. Providing readily accessible clean EV transport removes the necessity for individual car ownership and opens up the possibility of new ways to travel. There clearly needs to be a modal shift in transport options with the emphasis on mobility and affordable access for everyone. Providing accessible clean EV vehicles through car clubs and hire companies together with enhanced public transport is a potential winning combination.

The study will look at accelerating the uptake of EVs nationally, by increasing access to electric mobility in areas under low ownership of EVs through strengthening EV infrastructure. We propose to focus on community car parks, such as Park and Ride (P&R), city centre and remote/rural car parks as they offer a range of potential recharging spaces nationally. There are between 3 and 4 million non-residential parking spaces in the UK. If converted to provide EV charging facilities, these would provide an alternative for the 80% of UK homes which do not have domestic off-street parking to permit overnight charging.

RenEnergy Solar Carport, Norwich

Our proposal will also enable the expansion of EV bus services, currently constrained by the lack of suitable rapid recharging facilities at the end of routes, such as in P&R car parks.

The study will look at how to overcome the technical and behavioural hurdles to creating EV recharging facilities in community car parks. Specifically, we will look at the use of solar-powered recharging as a means to help overcome the costs, complexity and disruption of reinforcing the electricity grid to a level capable of meeting this new demand. We will investigate the benefits and hurdles encountered by the relatively small number of public car park solar-powered charging schemes, which we call Solar Mobility Hubs (SMHs), currently in place in the UK e.g., the Milton Keynes Go Ultra Low City Scheme, the Oxford Energy Superhub, and the York Hyperhub. However, none of these schemes includes a mechanism to disseminate nationally the learning achieved and the substantial benefits.

An important aspect of the study will be to understand the social and behavioural dynamics of SMH adoption through conducting consumer surveys.

The study will contribute to:

  • Delivering net-zero through local energy projects.
  • Helping reduce the vehicle miles driven on Britain’s roads. Norfolk has seen an increase of 34.53% since 1995.
  • A meaningful contribution to reducing the 40,000 early deaths in the UK every year caused by air-borne pollutants such as diesel particulates.
  • New employment opportunities, skills and training benefits.
  • Support to businesses by, for example, taxis and fleet vehicles using SMH charging stations encouraging the switch to EVs.

The bid is seeking £0.5m for the study in which RenEnergy will be supported by Norwich Community Solar.

There have already been a number of benefits through working on the bid:

  • Demonstrating the value of a Community Benefit Society (NCS) working with the private (RenEnergy) and public (County Council) sectors to share the benefits of their respective expertise in offering relevant and effective solutions to the climate crisis.
  • Networking and making good connections with bodies such as the County Council (NCC) and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (NALEP).
  • NCS working together as a team and gaining valuable experience on funding bids.

It has also highlighted factors holding Norfolk back in terms of integrating community energy into a coherent plan for net zero in the county.

On Friday 18th June we heard the bid had been successful in the first stage of the appraisal process. The Solar Mobility Hub proposal has been put forward as part of Norfolk’s final submission. UK Government will now conduct a process to evaluate each of the submissions to determine the individual projects which will receive funding.

The outcome will be known in late July – fingers crossed!

Parishes, Communities and Solar Farms

On the 17th June, Community Energy South ran a webinar for over 100 attendees drawn from parish councils and community energy organisations across the South East. The webinar followed an earlier event in May, “Pathways for Community Energy in Norfolk and Suffolk” a recording of which can be viewed on the CES website. At the May event Nigel Hargreaves, Chair of NCS, gave a brief overview of what Norwich Community Solar can offer to help reduce carbon emissions, lower energy bills, enhance energy security and develop community resilience to benefit the local economy and environment. As a result of the May webinar it was clear parish councillors wanted more information on how parishes could benefit from solar farm developments in their area which resulted in CES delivering the June webinar.

Jake Burnyeat of Communities for Renewables (CfR) discussed community ownership emphasising how challenging this can be for a community to do it themselves:

  • It can take over £200k of risk investment to get to planning consent and the same again to secure construction finance.
  • It can typically take 2 years from feasibility to completion.
  • It can take a lot of volunteer input even with funding and professional support.

Some solar developers may be willing to sell a solar farm to the community but early engagement on the part of the community is strongly advised, especially if the community can support the project through the planning process when a purchase option can be agreed upfront.

Jim Hartley-Bond of Low Carbon Ltd spoke about a real step-change in community ownership of solar farms. Whilst projects can be more challenging compared to the days of FiT subsidies, the financial value to the local community can be much greater. A key observation is that a community contemplating a solar farm must be organised and ready. If working with a developer, for example, the developer will not wait around for a community to get organised. They have to be ready to negotiate and implement as soon as an opportunity arises. This is where NCS can play an important role in providing advice and assistance.

Mark Hinnells of Ricardo, and also a lecturer at the Centre for Alternative Technology, gave several examples of community solar farms. He made the point that grid connected 5MW farms supported through FiTs or ROCS (Renewables Obligation Certificates) are no longer viable after removal of the support. Mark listed the following possible options:

  • Very large 20MW to 49MW or greater to take advantage of economies of scale
  • Solar plus storage but more difficult for a community to achieve.
  • Private wire arrangement with a large local customer.
  • Utilisation of low cost, low value land e.g. owned by a council, on a reservoir, above a car park.
  • Reduced risk where a Statutory Undertaker does not have to seek planning permission under permitted development rights if on their own land. E.g. a water company reservoir.
  • A combination of the above.
Floating solar panels on a reservoir

Apart from older, subsidised schemes or private wire connected projects, most projects need economies of scale for them to be financially viable. Schemes currently under development would seem to support this view:

The webinar gave a good insight into how communities and councils can work with a wide variety of stakeholders, including solar developers, to invest in and benefit from a local solar farm. The event provided a useful overview of options, financial viability, planning considerations, and community funding. There was a noticeable absence of representatives from Norfolk at the event which suggests there is still some way to go for communities and councils in Norfolk to recognise the opportunities and advantages of developing solar farms.

A significant issue was raised by a very passionate participant regarding the whole life cycle impacts of developing renewable energy schemes and electric vehicles. He was extremely concerned we are not fully considering the overall impacts on communities from where raw materials originate. From destructive mining to unfair and potentially exploitative practices there are impacts on the environment and communities. This important issue could form the basis of a future CES webinar.

NCS is keen to support RenEnergy in an investigation into the development of prototype solar car ports made from wood. This would assuage some of the concerns, although not all, about the sustainability of resources.

Funding for Community Energy Schemes

CORE Partners
Following the previous article about solar farms, Community Owned Renewable Energy (CORE Partners) is a £40m investment programme to support solar farms in England. Typically, CORE Partners will acquire a project with the objective of selling its interest to the local community in partnership with a community energy group. The aim is to turn solar farms into community assets whilst maximising the financial, environmental and social impact within the community. CORE Partners are backed by UK social investors, the Power to Change Trust (PtC) and Big Society Capital (BSC). Their missions are aligned to targeting investment into sustainable social enterprises and local community businesses.

Rural Community Energy Fund
The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) is a £10 million programme supporting rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects providing economic and social benefits to the community.

The RCEF offers support to rural communities in 2 stages:

  • stage 1: grants of up to £40,000 for a feasibility study for a renewable energy project
  • stage 2: grants of up to £100,000 for business development and planning of feasible schemes

To register interest in a scheme, or to obtain further information, for East Anglia contact the South East Energy Hub.

Community Energy Fortnight

Community Energy

Community Energy Fortnight (CEF) is running across the UK from 14-27 June. The theme is We The Power with the purpose of inspiring people to get involved in projects, taking action around energy and to engage MPs in championing community energy to influence positive policy change in favour of community energy.

Local Electricity Bill
In the year of COP26 MPs are keen to appear “green”. Invite your MP to support the Local Electricity Bill if they haven’t pledged their support already. The Local Electricity Bill was successfully introduced into parliament on the 10th June 2020. If it passes into law it will allow consumers to purchase energy from local groups, and not just nationally licensed utilities. The ‘Right to Local Supply’ will allow communities to sell locally generated electricity directly to local households and businesses. However, the Bill has not yet become law. There is still work to do. Steve Shaw, director of Power for People who lead the coalition supporting the Bill, commented, “So far, we have brought a cross-party group of 257 MPs on board in support. We still need many more to win the campaign and to achieve this we need your help”. These are the most important actions you can take:

Norwich Community Solar – our future

We have invested a lot of time, energy and expertise in our latest funding bid and we look forward to a successful outcome. In the process we have broadened our connections and strengthened our network of contacts with local councils, businesses and potential future partners. Current government policy and the regulatory framework does not make it easy to develop viable community solar but the context is evolving and examples in this newsletter show they are possible. Initiatives such as the Local Electricity Bill could make a significant difference if, and when, enacted. We have to be ready to take advantage of the opportunities when they come along. NCS membership is healthy with our 81st member signing up last month. If you are not already a member please sign up via our website: NCS Membership.

As a Community Benefit Society we also willingly accept donations via the same page!

Integrated solar and battery storage scheme in Norfolk?
NCS is keen to work with builders and developers to carry out a feasibility study for a housing and community integrated solar and battery scheme. Let us know if you are aware of potential for such a scheme and contacts for us to follow up. Please e-mail:

Spread the word!
Please share this Newsletter with others and your contacts who may be interested in supporting or getting involved in community solar. The more we network, the broader our contacts and the better placed we are when opportunities arise!

Norwich Community Solar is a community benefit society (registered under the Financial Conduct Authority, number 7456). If you would like to join as a member or have any other comments and suggestions, please get in touch through our website.


Local leadership needed to transform UK energy

The independent and not-for-profit energy think tank Regen has reinforced the case for community energy initiatives, such as Norwich Community Solar. In a recent report it warns that without “active engagement” of the people and organisations living and working in the UK’s nations, cities and regions, the net zero target will not be reached.

Local leadership to transform our energy system states that, without national government action, local government will not be able to reach the full potential of what it can do on energy. With the pandemic having wiped out budgets and stealing resources that could have been invested in climate and energy this year, local authorities will have to use all their “creativity and innovation” to create income streams and share resources to unlock energy projects.

It sets out a series of recommendations for government to ensure that localities are able to drive action to transform the UK’s energy system and identified 10 “top asks”, including a new statutory duty for local authorities on net zero energy, with appropriate funding, resources and reporting to deliver against it, to release local leadership across the country.

It also calls for local authorities’ role in energy network planning and investment to be unlocked, suggesting the establishment of a formal governance role for UK regions as a way to do this; for guidance to be issued on how to set up new Power Purchase Agreements to help local authorities support community energy projects; and for local government to be handed control of retrofit funding, enabling local rollout of energy efficiency measures. Elsewhere, it recommends the ambition of the Future Homes Standard should be raised to be net zero compliant, with local authorities given the freedom to be more ambitious than the national decarbonisation timetable in setting their local plan policies for new homes and commercial developments.



New carbon footprinting tool for parish councils

The Government’s continuing lack of urgency dealing with the climate emergency places even greater importance on local action and community energy initiatives. However, the lack of data about CO2 emissions at a local level has held back awareness of what our communities need to do to meet their obligations.

A new carbon footprinting tool in development now by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) will make it much easier for local councils to assess the scale of the task in their areas of responsibility and set meaningful reduction targets. Over the next six months, and in partnership with Midlands Energy Hub, CSE will develop a tool that will enable parish councils and local communities to estimate baseline carbon emissions for their area. This will be calculated using information about energy use, travel behaviours and the consumption of goods and services modelled at household level and scaled up to better reflect individual communities.

The tool will enable the development of meaningful and locally appropriate carbon reduction strategies by parish councils that allow them to support their district and county councils with well-targeted activity that focuses on big-emissions sectors rather than spending time on well-meaning but low-impact activities. It will allow users to test out a number of scenarios designed to demonstrate the potential impact of different projects on their overall carbon footprint.

CSE is seeking out parish councillors or clerks wanting to get involved with developing and testing the tool. You don’t need any specific skills or experience as CSE is keen to create something that is easy to use for everyone. If you would like to be involved, please contact

CSE’s Annette Lamley said, “To tackle the climate emergency, we need the involvement of all levels of government, from the commanding heights of Westminster down to parish councils. The latter have a critical role to play being uniquely placed to inspire grassroots movements, set a leadership example and deliver practical local action.”


Online tool aims to boost community energy

Via New Anglia Energy

SP Energy Networks has unveiled a free-to-use platform with the aim of helping communities across the UK realise their net zero emissions ambitions.

It has launched its Zero Carbon Communities hub, an open source tool which will act as a free, centralised source of information to bring together shared knowledge of local community energy projects. Created with support from Community Energy Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway College, and the Energy Skills Partnership, it is part of efforts to boost investment in the growth of the community energy sector and wider economy.

The hub is intended for community groups, such as NCS, that are planning and developing renewable energy projects, helping them to decide on technology, location, scale, governance and management processes. It will offer guidance and signposting of how to approach each area to overcome potential problems at an early stage and shorten project lead times.

As part of the tool’s launch, it was good to hear Guy Jefferson, SP Energy Networks Customer Service Director, acknowledging the important role of community energy. “Community energy projects have the potential to transform the UK’s energy sector”, he said, “with the introduction of renewable technology specific to the needs of the local area. Our new Zero Carbon Communities tool will help organisations through the planning and development process, allowing them to overcome potential pitfalls and get the right investment in place quicker than ever before. Bespoke local energy solutions are required if the UK is going to meet its net zero emissions targets.”

SP Energy Networks


Government told to give local energy multi-billion-pound backing

Via New Anglia Energy

UK100, a network of UK local authorities focused on climate and clean energy policy, and Siemens UK have called on the government to pledge £5bn toward local energy in its upcoming stimulus package, stating it could unlock £100bn worth of schemes.

On 30 June, the pair published a summary of a forthcoming report into investment in local energy projects. Having analysed five regional energy hubs set up by the government in 2018, it found a pipeline of 183 projects valued at £850mn, though 90% are at an early stage of development and relatively small scale. Multi-billion-pound government support would grow the current pipeline more than 100 times, to reach that £100bn figure.

Broken down, it includes £40bn for energy efficiency, £30bn for low carbon heating, £10bn for renewables, £10bn for smart energy systems and £10bn for low emissions transport.

The most effective way of delivering government support would be through establishing a Net Zero Development Bank, the report said. Working in partnership with local authorities, the Bank would be a centre for excellence for developing, procuring and delivering net zero project investment, scale up investment opportunities to make them more attractive to institutional investors, and engage with regulators and central government to ensure necessary support for market development.

Carl Ennis, UK CEO of Siemens, said: “There is an urgent need to scale up local, sustainable, energy if the UK is to have any chance of meeting net zero by 2050. This requires a collective national effort with government, business and the public all playing our part. Local energy should be at the heart of the National Infrastructure Strategy creating a more consistent policy landscape that will give investors the confidence to invest earlier.”


COVID-19 can be “historic turning point” in fight against climate change

Via: New Anglia Energy

Further pressure on the Government to address the climate emergency has come from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which has urged ministers to “seize the opportunity” and ensure COVID-19 becomes a defining moment in tackling the climate crisis.

The CCC is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008. Its purpose is to advise the UK and devolved governments on emissions targets and to report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

On 25 June, it published its latest annual progress report to Parliament, outlining how overall UK emissions dropped 3-4% in 2018-19, meaning they have now fallen by 30% since 2008. This progress has been driven by strong progress in the electricity sector, with the CCC calling on government to replicate that success story in all sectors of the economy. It highlighted examples of where progress is lagging, such as buildings and heating policy, where almost 2mn homes likely to be in need of expensive zero carbon retrofits have been built since the Climate Change Act was passed.

While COVID-19 will see global emissions fall a record 5-10% in 2020, and potentially by even more in the UK, the effect will be temporary. This makes the months ahead hugely significant, with the CCC identifying five clear investment priorities for government: low carbon retrofits and buildings fit for the future, tree planting, peatland restoration and green infrastructure; strengthening energy networks; infrastructure to make it easy for people to walk, cycle and work remotely; and moving towards a circular economy.

CCC Chairman, Lord Deben, said: “We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address these urgent challenges together; it’s there for the taking. The steps that the UK takes to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic can accelerate the transition to a successful and low-carbon economy and improve our climate resilience. Choices that lock in emissions or climate risks are unacceptable.”

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