City council agrees historic energy deal

Marvin Rees

A deal which could help Bristol achieve its ambition of becoming a zero carbon city has been sealed.

The City Leap Project is a 20 year joint venture which could see up to £1b invested in the city’s infrastructure.

The city council has signed a deal with renewable energy company Amersco which could transform the way Bristol distributes and uses energy.

European energy company Vattenfall is also part of the ambitious project.

Experts from law firm Burges Salmon worked on the deal that was agreed last year and has now been finalised.

Projects include expansion of the city’s district heat network, installing wind turbines and solar panels, retrofitting homes with insulation and rolling out heat pumps.

Burges Salmon advised on all the legal aspects of the structuring, procurement, the concession arrangement and joint-venture agreement.

The Burges Salmon team advising on the deal was led by director Emma Andrews, along with Ross Fairley (head of the firm’s Renewable Energy team) and John Houlden (head of Public Sector and Procurement), Camilla Usher-Clark (head of the firm’s Corporate Energy team), and senior associate Gregory Nash.

Camilla Usher-Clark

Camilla Usher-Clark said: “This landmark project will accelerate Bristol’s journey to Net Zero, and we are honoured to have been entrusted by Bristol City Council with working on it all of the way through, since its inception.  We’ve worked in very close collaboration with the in-house project and legal teams at the Council, and very much look forward to seeing the programme develop over the coming years.”

Bristol City Council launched the City Leap project in May 2018, with Burges Salmon chosen as its legal adviser later that year.

The local authority has led the market in energy efficiency and investment initiatives since 2005, bringing in a new era of renewable energy generation, low-carbon technologies and energy efficiency. It met its 2020 carbon reduction target three years early.

Bristol’s Mayor, Marvin Rees, and Bristol’s Cabinet signed off the City Leap deal between Bristol City Council and Ameresco Limitedwith Vattenfall Heat UK as an essential subcontractor.

At least £424m will be invested into clean energy projects in the first five years of the deal, aiming to create 1,000 new jobs and reduce the city’s carbon footprint by at least 140,000 tonnes.

Those behind the initiative have estimated the partnership will deliver £61.5m of social value to the city over the next five years including more than 1,000 new job and apprenticeships.

Marvin Rees said: “Bristol City Leap is a big deal for Bristol. This is a world first and sets out a clear blueprint for city-scale decarbonisation for other cities and regions to follow. “

Bristol City Leap will have a real impact for Bristol residents including the ways that we power and heat our homes, which is perhaps more important than ever before.”

Britta MacIntosh, senior vice president of Ameresco, added: “As municipalities across the globe consider next steps in their own decarbonisation path, we hope Bristol City Leap is a showcase example of how action drives transformative results.”


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