What We Know about Local Authority Engagement in UK Energy Systems

This report examines UK Local Authority clean energy plans and investments. Local Authorities (LAs) are recognised across the governments of the UK, and by the UK Committee on Climate Change (2012), as critical to climate protection and clean energy commitments. Local strategies can contribute significantly to energy savings in public, commercial and residential buildings; statutory duties, planning and development powers are important in catalysing cross sector innovation for clean energy systems. Many leading edge LAs have made pledges to achieve 100% clean energy in their area by 2050. There are however, uncertainties about the future structure of local government services, powers and resources, and the local government role in energy systems is uncertain. In this context LAs are increasingly treating energy provision and demand management as a source of revenues and as manmagent of transformation across the local social, economic and environmental landscape. Some cities and regions are making energy infrastructure and services central to capital investment and creating municipal energy companies to manage new business; others are asking how they can get started. Despite the unknowns, LAs are one of the very few organisations committed to the area for the long term and their democratic status is a route to engaging everyone in decision-making about the necessary shift to clean energy, giving them a stake in benefits as well as costs.

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