Green energy projects run by cities and local authorities around the UK stand to receive millions of pounds of government support, providing another fillip for renewable power just a day after the subsidised price of windfarms hit a record low. The Guardian understands that ministers this autumn will offer more than £3m to help local leaders build low carbon initiatives, such as installing solar panels on social housing. The funding would be a key plank of the government’s upcoming blueprint on how to meet the UK’s binding carbon targets, the Clean Growth Plan. The anticipated support is a response to calls from a network of 100 UK cities, which said they wanted to build clean energy projects at a local level but warned that they were struggling to finance them. “We believe the UK has a great opportunity to lead the world in an early shift to a fossil-fuel-free economy, just as we have led the world in previous industrial transitions,” said Judith Blake, leader of Leeds city council, and John Holdich, leader of Peterborough city council. Both cities are members of the UK100, which backs action on climate change and clean energy. But in a new report, the network said local authorites often lacked the technical expertise for accessing finance and EU funds being cut off post-Brexit posed a further challenge. The report’s authors, former employees of the engineering giant Arup and the recently privatised Green Investment Bank, called on ministers to tackle the problem by creating Clean Energy Action Partnerships between national and local government. The partnerships would employ teams of experts to support councils who want to build local low carbon projects, such as heat networks or solar power. Claire Perry, the climate minister, is understood to be sympathetic to the proposals. One idea put forward in the UK100’s report is that clean energy projects run by councils could enjoy a cut in business rates.
Guardian 13th Sept 2017 read more »