Bristol wins £2.5m to develop energy services company

CSE analysis underpins ’major advance’ for city’s energy policy

19 January 2012

CSE's home city of Bristol is to receive a £2.5 million grant from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to meet most of the costs of developing an energy services company and pave the way for a significant new investment programme.

The money will be used to spearhead renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in the city worth up to £140 million.

CSE Chief Executive Simon Roberts said “This is a major step forward in improving energy security and reducing fuel poverty in the city.

"We are very supportive of the council’s approach of delivering sustainable energy services locally to a high quality and standard, building on local knowledge and experience. This will bring a greater level of economic benefit to local communities and encourage a sense of pride amongst those living and working in the city.”

CSE has been closely involved with the development of an energy strategy for Bristol and provided the key analysis underpinning the City Council’s bid for EIB funding. Click here to read about the city-wide sustainable energy study we undertook in 2009.

Bristol is the first local authority in the country outside London to receive an EIB grant of this size. For thousands of the city's residents it will mean cheaper bills through investment in energy saving measures. Council Leader Barbara Janke describes the development of an energy services company as a "bold but necessary move for the city".

She added that "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."

Arms-length organisation

The Bristol energy services company will be owned by the City Council on behalf of the citizens of Bristol, operating as an arms-length organisation and generating income through energy savings and energy generation. 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
  • Developing small district heating networks, particularly in the city centre.

Beyond this the investment programme hopes to:

  • 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 the city’s homes by up to 3% - helping to achieve the city’s ambitious carbon targets
  • Improve energy security and reduce fuel poverty
  • Support the market for renewable energy systems and further develop Bristol’s leading position in environmental technologies

Other ongoing council energy projects include

  • Updating all the city’s 34,000 street lights to more energy efficient, higher quality white light systems that will improve the quality of the street lighting in every neighbourhood and cut the council’s energy bills by an estimated £1m per year.
  • Investing £9 million in the construction of wind turbines in the city. It is believed that Bristol will be the first council in the UK to operate its own turbines on its own land.

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