January 2023: News from Mayor Marvin Rees

£424m for clean energy in Bristol: 1,000 new jobs

A New Year brings the chance to reflect and also look to the future, and to wish South Bristol Voice readers a very Happy New Year.

As we look into 2023 and beyond, we think about the challenges we face now – not least the cost of living, energy, and climate crises – and in the future. In December, at our cabinet meeting, we took a giant leap forward on tackling all three thanks to our City Leap clean energy programme.

Decarbonising Bristol by 2030 is likely to be one of the most challenging infrastructure overhauls in the history of our city. We have secured an initial investment of £424 million from partners Ameresco and Vattenfall, creating 1,000 new jobs and cutting 140,000 tonnes of carbon emissions over the next five years.

City Leap will play an essential role in this, it’s an ambitious energy project that will accelerate investment in our city, moving Bristol forward on our journey to net zero. The scale of investment that is needed to make our city carbon neutral and climate resilient will likely total at least £10 billion. We need to transform the way we generate, distribute, store and use energy at scale across our whole city.

The council has invested nearly £100 million in decarbonisation projects over the last five years, which includes completing the construction of Castle Park Energy Centre that houses England’s largest water source heat pump. However, we need to rapidly increase the scale and pace of low carbon delivery to be able to meet our targets. Our City Leap Energy Partnership with Ameresco Limited and Vattenfall Heat UK will secure a twenty-year framework to enable over £1 billion of international investment into low carbon energy infrastructure such as solar PV, wind generation, zero carbon heat networks, smart energy systems, and other energy efficiency measures.   

In the first five years, the City Leap Energy Partnership’s contribution to carbon neutrality will include: installing over 182mw of zero carbon energy generation, expanding Bristol’s Heat Network, installing solar panels and low carbon heating at local schools and in the council’s social housing, boosting council and community owned renewable-energy projects across our city, and offering decarbonisation support to schools and hospitals.

Reducing carbon emissions and tackling the climate emergency is a huge challenge for everybody, but through our City Leap Energy Partnership, we’ve secured the funding, knowledge, and resources to accelerate our progress. Collaborative action will usher a period of extraordinary innovation, investment, and growth – helping to make the just transition to net zero and securing Bristol’s reputation as a leading clean energy city for many years to come.

City Leap is a big deal for Bristol – it’s the most ambitious and exciting energy project that we have embarked on to accelerate clean energy investment and is a big step towards decarbonising our whole city and on our journey to net zero.