It is now widely accepted that the transformation of the UK energy system is well underway with changes to technologies and business models, as well as evolving consumer preferences, challenging many of the principles and structures of the existing centralised and supply focussed energy system. At the same time there is growing consensus that local approaches to energy system change are becoming more important. This blog reviews the changing focus in the UK on the local dimension of energy system change and emphasises the potential for energy decarbonisation to progress at different speeds, and deliver very different outcomes, in different areas of the UK. Given the need for rapid and coordinated change across the UK in order to meet climate change commitments the renewed focus on local energy systems needs to go beyond local experimentation and think about how the roles and relationships between different scales of governance should develop to make sure decarbonisation delivers for everyone in the UK. What the local economic growth focus of the Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Strategy does not emphasise is that the benefits and impacts of decarbonisation are likely to be unevenly spread across the country, with winners and losers. Instead the assumption is that leading areas will deliver local demonstrators and new business models that will then be scaled up nationally. This is despite analysis by UCL indicating that most decarbonisation scenarios have the potential for significant regional economic disparities, and the Climate-KIC suggesting that a handful of city regions are likely to dominate the growth of climate innovation clusters. Just last week a report by Imperial Consultants indicated that progress on decarbonisation, and the benefits being experienced, have significant regional variations. To discuss these issues in more depth IGov is bringing together a range of local, regional and national organisations from across industry, central and local government, and civil society to debate the role of local energy on 28th November. The event will be held under Chatham House rules but we plan to publish a report of the event in the following weeks. If you’re interested in discussing the event, or our work on local governance more broadly, please contact us.
IGov 26th Nov 2018 read more »
Bristol’s plan to be carbon-neutral by 2030 is “ambitious”, but aspects could be “challenging”, a climate change expert says. Government advisor and climate change expert Dr Jo House was speaking after the city’s climate plan was approved. Dr House said the plan will “send a strong message to government and globally”. Bristol City Council said it had reduced its emissions by 72% already and should have its plan ready in 2019. The city has the most ambitious emissions targets of the UK’s core cities group, but has said it “cannot do this alone”. Bristol is currently in breach of what the World Health Organisation deems as safe levels of nitrogen dioxide. The air quality management report for Bristol in 2017 attributed the nitrogen levels to “300 deaths each year in the city”.
BBC 26th Nov 2018 read more »