What We Know about Local Authority Engagement in UK Energy Systems
This report examines what UK Local Authorities are doing now about sustainable energy, why, and what could be achieved with more supportive policy. The research mapped energy initiatives across all UK Local Authorities for the first time, revealing considerable regional and national variation in activity. The research then examined a sample of energy projects in depth from 40 local authorities and compared local authority engagement in Britain and Europe. Local authorities were found to pursue energy initiatives which are viewed as a source of revenue and an agent of transformation for local prosperity. 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. Existing local authority initiatives help to exemplify the potential for a more mixed economy of energy, and a more distributed system, with private, public and civil society contributors, and a significant role for municipalities. Further opportunities could leveraged, and problems eased, with a clear energy policy agenda for local authorities, and a consensus across government on the local contribution to future energy systems. Research findings suggest five areas for consideration by UK and devolved national governments; these are explained in the report.