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Bristol’s renewable energy successes recognised by international panel

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Bristol’s achievements increasing its renewable energy supply have been recognised by a high-level international panel organised by the European Commission and featuring a Member of the European Parliament at the UN’s COP21 global climate talks in Paris.

Cllr Daniella Radice, Assistant Mayor for Neighbourhoods including the Environment at Bristol City Council, presented the city’s successes including its solar projects which have helped the share of renewables in Bristol’s energy supply soar to 25%.

The session, ‘Renewable Energy: Energising The Future’ presented renewable energy projects already being implemented in cities around the world. It also investigated how to accelerate these developments.

Stefan Schurig, Director of the Future of Cities and Climate and Energy department at the World Future Energy Council, presented an opening discussion on ‘What does it take for cities to achieve 100% renewable?’

The panel included Mayor Marcio Araujo Larceda from Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Mayor Gregor Roberton from Vancouver, Canada; and Mayor Kartrin Stjernfeldt Jamme from Malmo, Sweden. Claude Turmes MEP from Luxembourg also participated in the discussion, which was hosted by Claire Roumet, Executive Director or Energy Cities.

Cllr Radice described one of Bristol’s Transformative Action Plans (TAPs), The Bristol Billion, which is designed to invest $1B (or £700m) making the city’s buildings more energy efficient to achieve significant carbon and energy savings. It would involve refurbishing 56,000 homes in Bristol – 30% of the city – to reduce energy use, help lift people out of fuel poverty and reduce health costs.

Cllr Radice said: “We are in Paris to exchange ideas with other cities and to attract investment in projects to transform Bristol.

“We have the lowest per capita carbon emissions of all the large UK cities, but I have been sitting at the table with even more ambitious cities such as Vancouver and Malmo, which shows the challenge we have ahead in terms of being in the very top league internationally.

“We have a clear picture of where to go as a city but we know we need investment to help, and we have sent this message loudly and clearly to a broad range of people and organisations at this world summit.”

Bristol City Council has installed 1.3MW capacity of solar PV on its own operational buildings. In 2015 alone it has rolled out 650kW, with a further 250kW planned before the end of this year. A total of 3,600 solar panels will have been installed, saving around 340 tonnes of CO2 each year. The council, which already holds 5MW capacity from two wind turbines since 2013, has plans to complete two solar parks with 10.2MW combined capacity in the coming months.

Heat networks are also being developed in the city, connecting businesses and public buildings to energy centres powered by biomass and backup energy efficient gas boilers. Building developers within a major city development project, Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, will be set to attract sustainability-orientated businesses with affordable low carbon heat.