Bristol aims for green leap forward with £1bn investment in carbon-neutral energy systems

May 11, 2018

Potential partners are being sought from across the world to help Bristol reach the goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.

Bristol City Council is looking to attract investment of up to £1bn in the city’s energy infrastructure over the next decade.

The council’s prospectus for the project, called City Leap, outlines energy and infrastructure investment opportunities available to local, national and international businesses.

The largest investment opportunities are heat networks – the underground pipes that will deliver affordable, low-carbon heat and energy across the city (£300m) – and in domestic energy efficiency (£300m).

Collaborations are also sought on a smart energy system, which could include development of a ‘Bristol Battery’ to link in with local and national energy transmission networks, as well as projects focused on commercial energy efficiency and renewable energy. There are also opportunities for businesses which specialise in monitoring and evaluation of projects.

The council has delivered a wide programme of energy efficiency and investment initiatives since 2005, investing tens of millions of pounds in renewable energy generation and energy efficiency and meeting the 2020 corporate carbon reduction target three years early. 

Now City Leap is designed to test the market and lay out big ambitions and opportunities, building on the work and innovative pilot schemes already taking place in the city as it aims to be carbon neutral within 32 years.

Cabinet member for energy and waste Cllr Kye Dudd said: “Bristol is already internationally recognised as a leading energy city, but now we’re looking to take things to the next level and we need partners to join us on this journey.

“City Leap sets out a diverse range of opportunities which could be available for businesses and will allow us to explore possibilities which wouldn’t be open to us working alone.

“We want to use our role as local government to act as a catalyst for change. In return for partnering with us, businesses would get a chance to shape the future of the city’s energy system and unlock opportunities to gain a return on their initial investment.”

The council is working with a wide range of partners from across the city on City Leap, including the University of Bristol, UWE, Western Power Distribution, the smart city group Bristol is Open, inward investment agency Invest Bristol and Bath, Bristol Green Capital Partnership and Bristol Energy.

Bristol Green Capital Partnership chief executive Ian Townsend said: “City Leap is an important initiative to ensure that Bristol stays on track to meet its carbon neutral 2050 target while also solving our city’s energy, environmental and other challenges.

“We are incredibly fortunate that Bristol is so engaged with environmental sustainability and energy issues. We are pleased to join this exciting partnership, which builds on 11 years of collaboration and innovation of and among the 800-plus members of Bristol Green Capital Partnership from across sectors, all working towards the shared vision of a sustainable city with a high quality of life for all.

“This includes the city’s vibrant community energy scene which will play an important role in shaping Bristol’s sustainable future. The Partnership looks forward to helping to engage the city in the positive change the City Leap will bring to Bristol and its communities.”

Over the next decade the council hopes to expand the city’s existing heat network and facilitate the development of a large-scale heat network from Avonmouth to Severnside.

Domestic energy efficiency work will focus on addressing fuel poverty and enabling households to insulate their properties to reduce the costs of heating their homes.

The City Leap prospectus is just a starting point and the council is also welcoming new ideas to help it reach its goals. 

Expressions of interest will be accepted until the end of August and full details of the prospectus can be found at



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