Business and public leaders from across the UK have united to call on government to pledge £5 billion towards retrofitting local renewable energy systems and energy efficiency measures.
The UK100 network – comprising over 100 mayors and local government leaders – argues that the funding would unlock a pipeline of schemes worth some £100bn, including £10bn for renewables and £30bn for low carbon heating such as district heating networks.
More than 300,000 jobs could also be created in the local energy sector over the next decade including 223,000 in energy efficiency, 81,000 in heat networks and 12,000 in smart meters.
The group says that the £5bn stimulus would not only help the UK to reach its legally binding net-zero carbon target by 2050 but could form a key part of the nation’s recovery from the economic fallout of COVID-19.
The call for investment is backed by a new report that has been produced by UK100 and Siemens UK on accelerating the rate of investment in local energy projects.
The full report will be published later in the summer, but a summary of its major recommendations was released on July 1 ahead of a possible economic recovery package to be announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Meanwhile, the group is also calling for the establishment of a Net Zero Development Bank to bring together all existing government local energy financing, replace lost EU funding and to kick start local schemes which are too early in development to be attractive to private finance.
Director of UK100 Polly Billington said; “The Prime Minister needs to make good on his manifesto promise to help invest in energy efficiency in UK homes, which are some of the leakiest in Europe. £5bn could unlock £100bn. That would help consumers save on their fuel bills and the environment. A stimulus package that focuses on local energy will help rescue the UK economy and deliver on the PM’s ambitions of levelling up all parts of the country and meeting the net zero target.”
The UK100 report can be downloaded from: https://www.uk100.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Local-Energy-Insight-Summary-Report-July-2020.pdf