Think tank urges city and local authorities to drive green investments

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A new report has claimed cities and local authorities should play a much more active role in clean energy investment.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank's report, entitled 'City energy: a new powerhouse for Britain', recommends the UK takes a similar line to that of Germany.

IPPR director, Nick Pearce, said, "Around the world cities are spearheading the transformation that must occur in the energy sector.

"In Germany, for example, the city of Munich has already invested €900m in renewable energy projects and it has plans to invest a total of €9bn which will enable it to supply the entire municipality of one million people with renewable electricity by 2025."

Pearce was pleased to see efforts were being made in some areas of the country, with Lancashire County Pension Fund investing upwards of £200m in low-carbon projects and Nottingham providing a local heat network.

To the IPPR however, this is not enough and more wholesale changes need to be made for local authorities and cities to really start to embrace and drive clean technology investment.

Pearce added: "Local generation technologies like solar and medium-scale wind are radically transforming how energy systems operate, bringing to an end the dominance of centralised generation and distribution.

"This will create a system which is much more diverse and competitive.

"Cities should grasp the opportunity this presents to support local job creation and growth and enhance the resilience of local electricity supply. This will ensure that more low-carbon subsidies directly benefit British communities"

While the government has made it easier for local authorities to sell energy via its Licence Lite programme, there has been limited take up on the scheme.

In its report, the IPPR has also recommended cities look to work  on low-carbon infrastructure projects, urging pension funds to consider environmental options and the development of a collective agency responsible for the issuance of green local authority bonds.

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