Bristol Energy: A ‘triple bottom line’ for the city

Wind Turbines - bahn 8
Bristol Council’s wind turbine in Avonmouth. Photo: Bristol Council

Civic and private sector partnerships to combat climate change

The launch of Bristol Energy is the latest in the number of measures by Bristol Council to take greater control over the city’s energy supply.

It became the first council in the UK to own a wind farm when it purchased two wind turbines in its Avonmouth port area in 2013. It has put solar panels on its own buildings throughout the city, invested in biomass boilers and energy efficiency programmes, and has plans for district heat networks across the city to supply cheaper, lower carbon heat to businesses and public sector organisations.

The launch of Bristol Energy comes during the city’s year as European Green Capital. The council has used the award to launch a variety of green initiatives including a funding pot for local projects, establishing an energy education programme and encouraging local businesses to change their practices. The legacy of the year will come through the Bristol Green Partnership – a group of more than 800 organisations across the city committed to environmental aims.

Gary Topp, partnership development manager for the Bristol Green Partnership, said it will unite civil society and private sector leaders in the city and help coalesce environmental projects and aims. The Partnership is now a community interest company and no longer resourced by the council, and Topp says it will test new ways for civil society and private sector local partners to collaborate and have cross-cutting conversations.

‘We are beginning to see cities recognise the power of partnerships in a different way’, he said.

Cities are stepping up and taking practical action to combat climate change and make the shift to low carbon. Bristol is ahead of the game in investing in new systems, making behaviour change a priority and involving all of its citizens in the challenge.

Clare Goff is editor of New Start magazine
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