Energy Bill

Memorandum submitted by Bristol City Council (EN 43)




This submission briefly outlines Bristol’s investment plans for energy efficiency and renewable energy and makes a number of comments on the Government’s Energy Bill. In particular, it highlights how local authorities could be potentially involved in the development and delivery of the proposals outlined in the Energy Bill.



1. Bristol City Council is committed to delivering significant carbon reductions across the city, improving energy security, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels for businesses and citizens in Bristol. In November 2009, the Council unanimously adopted a citywide target to reduce carbon emissions by 40%. The Council aims for Bristol to become the most sustainable city in the UK exploiting the valuable economic, environmental and social benefits related to investing into low carbon projects.

2. To ensure the Council achieves its ambitions, it is planned to establish a citywide energy company to develop, implement and finance several energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and use the stream of income from the energy savings, or the renewable energy produced, to meet the financing and operating costs.

3. At this stage it is planned to:

· Improve the energy efficiency of over 17,000 homes and public buildings

· Install 18,500 solar electricity generating systems on homes

· Develop CHP/district heating networks in the City Centre and potentially other parts of the city.

4. It is estimated that there is in excess of £1.5 bn of investment opportunity in the city’s housing stock and more in commercial buildings and renewable energy infrastructure. It is hoped that the programme will create a market for renewables and develop Bristol’s leading position in environmental technologies further.

Main comments:


5. Cities play an important role in improving energy efficiency and promoting low-carbon business and economic development. The Green Investment Bank could unlock opportunities that exist in cities and lend to medium and community-sized projects to achieve the financial scale that is attractive to private sector. Individually these projects are often too small for the finance markets and economies of scales could be achieved if the bank was able to lend to larger projects and/or a number of cities. This may require the remit of project types to be widened and/or some control to ensure investment is not isolated to a small section of the low carbon industry.

6. Local authorities could play a significant role in developing a holistic (whole house/building) approach to how energy efficiency and renewable energy projects are delivered to public sector and private housing dwellings. It is important that the new financing mechanisms such as the Feed-In Tariffs, the Green Deal/Energy Company Obligations or the Renewable Heat Incentive are developed in conjunction with local authorities. It is essential that these new emerging policies complement each other and details of how they interact and are refined are released as soon as they are available to allow for long-term strategic and business planning.

7. Local authorities would welcome flexibility in terms of what kind of delivery model they would like to develop for renewable energy and the Green Deal as there will be geographic differences in housing stock, fuel poverty and local circumstances such as the ability to raise funds.

8. We would welcome details of the potential roles for local authorities within the Green Deal including the interaction between Green Deal providers and assessors, opportunities for raising investment in green deal packages/measures, an assessment of the minimum roles and resources required, interactions between money raised via "Allowable Solutions" as part of tightened building regulations and how the Energy Company Obligation is distributed between energy suppliers and others involved in the Green Deal. This would help us to understand the impact on alleviating fuel poverty and support for the ‘hard-to-heat measures’ supply chain. Working with local authorities on pilot schemes such as the Green Deal Trailblazers and other relevant schemes and including representation in steering groups/policy discussions would help identify much of the information needed.

9. We would appreciate greater transparency in how renewable energy financial support mechanisms are reviewed to allow greater investment confidence in the market. Of particular concern is if the "definition of site" was changed as part of a FIT/RHI review, the renewable energy delivery model for Bristol and other public sector organizations will be significantly affected and/or reduced.

10. We would welcome it if UK Government could make Energy Performance Certificates of buildings available to local authorities on a citywide rather than on an individual basis as currently the case via the landmark site (, so that we can work with residents and businesses to plan our investment programmes in the best possible way and integrate it with our own databases. This will aid in understanding where low carbon measures are best suited, including identifying potential district heating networks.

June 2011

Prepared 22nd June 2011