City energy: A new powerhouse for Britain

Published Thu 17 Jul 2014
This report explores the options and the potential for cities to engage in the energy supply market and raise finance for investment in low-carbon energy infrastructure – particularly in local energy generation.
  • Download a presentation by report co-author Reg Platt, presented at the launch of the report in London, 17 July 2014

There are opportunities for Britain's cities in the energy sector that could aid efforts to create a cleaner, smarter and more affordable energy system, provide an alternative to the big utilities, and boost local economies in the process. Many of these opportunities can be delivered under existing local authority powers, and are just waiting to be realised. However, there is more that the national government can do to help unlock the full potential of cities.

This report considers what cities can do in two areas: engaging in the energy supply market, and raising finance for investment in low-carbon energy infrastructure – particularly local energy generation. This would both unlock the potential of local low-carbon generation, and help bring an end to the overcharging of low-income consumers by energy companies.

We identify a range of business model options, exploring how and why cities could finance investment in low-carbon infrastructure, and the ways in which cities could assume a central role in addressing the large investment shortfall in the energy sector and ensuring that decarbonisation goals are achieved.

Together, these steps would allow cities to tackle Britain's energy crisis, and would bring numerous benefits, including:

  • lower bills for low-income households
  • greater investment in decarbonising the power supply
  • increasing cities' resilience by diversifying the sources of their energy
  • more jobs and higher growth.
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