Local Engagement in UK Energy Systems
Thermal Image of Sheffield Town Hall © Dr Grant Wilson, The University of Sheffield
Webb J, Tingey M, and Hawkey D (2017) What We Know about Local Authority Engagement in UK Energy Systems: Ambitions, Activities, Business Structures & Ways Forward. London, UK Energy Research Centre and Loughborough, Energy Technologies Institute.
Local Authorities play key role in providing clean energy for all, a short summary of the latest report.
Heat and the City International Workshop on Publicly Owned Energy Companies, 10-11 May 2018, Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, co-hosted with the Reframing Energy Demand project
Policy event What We Know about Local Authority Engagement in UK Energy Systems, 17 November 2017, Imperial College London, co-hosted by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI)
About the research
The UK’s contribution to meeting global climate protection targets includes a radical agenda for a clean energy system, and a low energy building stock: ‘by 2050, all buildings will need to have an emissions footprint close to zero’ (UK Carbon Plan, 2011, p.5).
Local governments are critical to making this happen: they are democratically elected bodies with significant planning powers, resources and knowledge, and they are committed to the area for the long term.
Our Local Engagement in UK Energy Systems research examines the current and future contribution of local governments to changing energy production, supply and use.
Findings provide knowledge about the extent of local engagement in energy generation, supply and user-led innovation under current institutional structures; and identify local energy governance and business models being developed, and their differential approach to assembling value, and allocating risks and rewards.
Materials and methods
Our UK-wide survey is the first systematic overview of energy plans and projects across the complete population of local authorities. Survey findings are supported by a review of local government engagement in energy in other parts of Europe; and 40 in-depth case studies of UK local energy plans and strategies, investment in low carbon and renewable technologies, renovation of buildings to reduce energy use and user-led innovation.
Findings and outcomes
Local authorities face significant challenges in moving from, often ambitious, plans to implementation, particularly in a governance structure where local authority budgets are centrally controlled and decreasing.
Outcomes inform further research on the emerging, and differentiated, patterns of social and technical innovation in localised energy, and their interaction with established network infrastructures and large-scale corporate suppliers of gas and electricity.
We are engaging policy actors, public and private practitioners and researchers in discussion about future potential for localised innovations to improve UK energy systems’ sustainability, productivity, resilience and affordability.
For more information see our research website Heat and the City
The project is led by Professor Jan Webb, Dr Dave Hawkey and Mags Tingey from the Heat and the City research group, and is co-funded through the UK Energy Research Centre Phase 3 and by the Energy Technologies Institute.
Tingey M, and Webb J (2018) Who else will need to deliver? The role of community and local institutions. In: Lloyd H. eds. A distributed energy future for the UK: An essay collection. London: Institute for Public Policy Research
Tingey M (2017) Local Authorities play key role in providing clean energy for all Blog post for the UKERC
Webb J, Tingey M, and Hawkey D (2017) What We Know about Local Authority Engagement in UK Energy Systems: Ambitions, Activities, Business Structures & Ways Forward. London, UK Energy Research Centre and Loughborough, Energy Technologies Institute
Tingey M, Webb J, and Hawkey D (2017) Local Authority Engagement in UK Energy Systems: Highlights from Early Findings. Loughborough and London: The ETI and UKERC
Chapter 8 Assessing local government engagement in energy systems development in the UK and its likely trajectories. in: Hawkey D, Webb J, Lovell H, McCrone D, Tingey M, and Winskel M (2016) Sustainable Urban Energy Policy: Heat and the city. Abingdon: Routledge
Webb J, Hawkey D, and Tingey M (2016) Governing cities for sustainable energy: The UK case, Cities, 54, p28-35 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2015.10.014
Hawkey D (2015) European Engagement with Local Energy Systems. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh
Hawkey D, Tingey M, and Webb J (2014) Local Engagement in UK Energy Systems. Loughborough: The Energy Technologies Institute