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Local leaders call on government to establish a Net Zero Development Bank

Over the next ten years, 316,387 jobs could be created in the local energy sector.

Over the next ten years, 316,387 jobs could be created in the local energy sector.

UK100 is set to present its Accelerating the Rate of Investment in Local Energy Projects report to energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng today (13 July).

The virtual launch will see the group, together with partner Siemens UK, call on the government to establish a Net Zero Development Bank to finance schemes that would help drive a net zero recovery.

It highlights that by putting just £5 billion towards local energy projects, a £100 billion return for the British economy could be created. The support would also help to create 300,000 jobs across the country, helping Britain to ‘build back better’.

Together, UK100, Siemens and other partners argue that the UK should aim for a more “balanced energy system”, mixing decentralised energy systems with large scale generation.

Local energy projects could include retrofitting homes, onshore solar and wind power, biomass, electric vehicle charging and smart grids, the report states, all of which will be critical to meeting the UK’s net zero target by 2050.

Over the next ten years, 316,387 jobs could be created in the local energy sector the report states, including up to 81,000 in heat networks and 12,000 in smart meters.

The report is the result of an 18 month programme that was sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Siemens. It consisted of five workshops held across England in Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Leicester and Manchester, where 327 experts from local authorities, business, academia, NGOs and local economic partnerships (LEPs) discussed green financing.

Sally Longford, deputy leader of Nottingham City Council and portfolio holder for Energy and Environment, said that a green recovery programme was not only a good thing to do “but the right thing too".

“The evidence shows that this type of investment pays dividends compared to traditional approaches, and helps us urgently move forward our climate emergency response. We have seen in Nottingham already how local energy projects can bring a range of real benefits to people andbusinesses, not just the environment.

"Councils are ready to lead and help deliver stimulus programmes to help us renew our local economies in a transformative way to overcome the effects of COVID-19 in the most positive way.”

A summary of the report's key findings was first released at the beginning of July, with the full report expected later this year.

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