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Bristol energy firm aims to give lower bills, new jobs, new investment

That was the message from Bristol City Council leader Barbara Janke after the city was awarded a £2.5 million grant from the European Investment Bank (EIB)

Barbara Janke

Barbara Janke

Plans to establish a citywide energy services company for Bristol will lead to lower household fuel bills, 1,000 new green energy jobs and up to £2billion investment in the city economy.

That was the message from Bristol City Council leader Barbara Janke after the city was awarded a £2.5 million grant from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The plans were launched last week at Redland Green School – the first secondary school in the city to install solar photovoltaic modules on its roof.

As part of this programme, schools will also be installing energy efficiency works such as energy efficient lighting and insulation and rolling out energy awareness activities with staff and pupils in the school. It is planned that the proposals announced will enable this programme to be massively expanded.

The Bristol energy services company will be owned by the City Council. It intends to secure half of its funding – about £70million – from the EIB and the rest from private sector investment. It would be an arms-length organisation and generate income through energy savings and energy generation.

Bristol City Council Leader Barbara Janke said: “This is a bold but necessary move for the city and we will be one of the first local authorities in the country to drive forward with such ambitious energy efficiency and renewable energy plans.

“In practical terms this will lead to cheaper bills for thousands of residents through investment in energy saving measures. This will also mean that as a city we will be generating our own energy, primarily
through a major investment in solar energy generation.

“It will help generate up to 1,000 new jobs in the construction and environmental technologies sectors – many I hope going to local firms and employees. The investment programme should also kick-start and attract much bigger investment in the city potentially up to £2 billion.”

The investment programme will initially be focused on:

  • Improving the energy efficiency of over 6,000 homes and public buildings through wall insulation and other measures;
  • Installing over 7,000 renewable energy generating systems on homes and public buildings such as solar panels and wood fuelled heating
  • Developing small district heating networks where several buildings are heated from a single, efficient boiler. These will be located in areas where there are several high-energy users close together such as in the city centre.

This investment programme would:

  • Invest up to £140 million into the city, creating up to 1,000 new jobs, many locally – in the environmental technologies and construction sectors;
  • Reduce the carbon emissions from homes by up to 3% – helping to achieve the city’s ambitious carbon targets;
  • Improve energy security and reduce fuel poverty in the city by making buildings more energy efficient;
  • Support the market for renewable energy systems and develop Bristol’s position in environmental technologies.

Simon Brooks, EIB vice president said: “The launch of the European Local Energy Assistance programme in Bristol will
both improve energy efficiency and ensure supply of low carbon and renewable energy in the city. The broad range of projects planned in Bristol will inspire similar cities in the UK and across Europe to look at ways to accelerate deployment of feasible energy efficiency and renewable energy schemes.”

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