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Boost for council's Net Zero carbon target

16 May 2024

Work to reduce carbon emissions across Peterborough and deliver a Net Zero target for the city will be accelerated as part of a collaborative new project.

Peterborough City Council was recently awarded £2.75m funding from Innovate UK to lead a scheme called Peterborough Accelerated Net Zero (PANZ), joining the Net Zero Living Pathfinders programme as one of the seven projects to receive the highest level of funding as Demonstrator projects.

As part of the PANZ project, the council will work with communities and partners including Cambridgeshire County Council, Nordic Energy, Energy Systems Catapult, edenseven and PECT, to develop a series of Net Zero delivery plans.

A platform will be developed that considers technical data alongside social, demographic and economic data to develop delivery plans that maximise likelihood of success. Using the tools developed in the PANZ project, financial mechanisms, engagement activities and training plans will be tailored to each project to enhance the chance of adoption of the net zero technology.

Peterborough was one of the first cities in the UK to adopt a Local Area Energy Plan which set out the pathway to reach net zero. It considered the current and future energy demands of heating, electricity and transport to predict what is likely to be required across low carbon heating, electricity network capacity and electricity generation.

The PANZ project pioneers an approach to take Local Area Energy Planning to the next stage, developing delivery plans that are tailored to the needs of the community in which they take place. The system will support the council to select projects that also deliver upon the council’s many other aspirations for the city. The system will encourage financial bundling of projects to create portfolios which will attract private investment, accelerating action in Peterborough. The tool will also enable the council to track the progress and impact of city-scale projects, making sure time can be well spent on the most needed projects.

The project will put the community voice at its centre, ensuring that we listen to and understand the barriers and drivers for our residents. By designing the system in this way, we will maximise our chances to bring projects from paper to real life, not only delivering carbon reductions and supporting Peterborough to become a Net Zero city but also driving healthier lives, saving money and developing our green skills market. The resulting Net Zero delivery plans will see Peterborough become a leading city in the pathway to Net Zero.

The consortium recognises the critical role local authorities play in decarbonising the UK economy and are delighted to create a cross functional team, equipped to deliver immediate actions for the local economy, as well as supporting the efficient future management of net zero projects. The project brings together an exciting collaboration of partners.

Nordic Energy’s innovative 3D modelling and visualisation experts will create special tools to identify and help eliminate Net Zero project barriers in Peterborough and across the UK.

Energy Systems Catapult is an independent research and technology organisation whose mission is to accelerate Net Zero energy innovation. Bringing its experience in consumer engagement and business model innovation, Energy Systems Catapult will have a key role in the development of the demonstrator projects relating to rural heat pumps and district heating.

Cambridgeshire County Council will lead research into financial mechanisms and explore the financial bundling of projects into investable packages. This will unlock private sector finance for low carbon projects.

Peterborough City Council will lead the project, ensuring that it listens to local residents, businesses and community groups and can support the council’s decision-making process.

edenseven will be supporting the council’s mission to baseline district-wide emissions and oversee a portfolio of emission-busting projects with our tailor-made, carbon accounting and managing software.

Environment charity PECT, will bring 30 years of experience of working with communities in and around Peterborough on environmental issues. Their experienced team of sustainability advisors will help engage residents on the best energy efficient measures for their households and communities.

Councillor Gavin Elsey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Climate Change said: "I am thrilled to see Peterborough leading the way in taking city-scale decarbonisation plans forward. It is essential that we recognise the diverse communities of Peterborough and design solutions that truly fit their needs."

Bob Barnes from Nordic Energy said: “We are so excited to be starting on this project to break down the non-technical barriers to Net Zero. We know what needs to happen to decarbonise heating and transportation, but there are many blockers which slow progress. We are building tools which help super charge this transition.”

Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Environment and Green Investment Committee, Councillor Lorna Dupre said: “We know private sector investment is crucial if we are to meet our Net Zero ambitions. This Innovate UK funding will help us to think creatively about new financial models to attract the kind of investment packages which make low carbon projects viable.

“Working with Innovate UK means the benefits of the work will be shared across government and Local Authorities. This will help to accelerate learning and increase the pace of delivery for net zero across the country."

Pete Nisbet, Managing Partner for edenseven, said: "In these pivotal years for decarbonisation in the UK, edenseven is thrilled to announce our collaboration with Peterborough City Council and the consortium on their net zero strategy. We recognise the critical role local authorities play in decarbonising the UK economy and are delighted to partner with forward-looking councils such as Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council. This partnership creates a cross functional team equipped to deliver immediate actions for the local economy, as well as supporting the efficient future management of net zero projects. It marks the inception of a unique partnership across the public and private sectors that showcases our commitment to pioneering sustainable solutions that create social impact.”

Tom Crawford from Energy Systems Catapult said: "The Catapult is excited to be part of the Peterborough Accelerated Net Zero Project, building on our delivery of their Local Area Energy Plan and input into Phase 1 of the Innovate UK Net Zero Living programme. We are keen to support the success of the project in its aim to develop a system that truly supports the needs of the community, and which can aid the decision making of local authorities to enable, accelerate and advance decarbonisation projects’.

Stuart Dawks from PECT said: “We are delighted to announce our involvement in the Peterborough Accelerated Net Zero project. The innovative project will draw on the expertise and skills of the partners to co-create approaches for cities to tackle the climate emergency and work towards Net Zero.”