Leeds businesses to get practical support to develop and secure funding for low carbon projects

6th January, 2019 - 19:33


Businesses in Leeds are being supported to go low carbon through a series of workshops to develop and finance new projects and get them 'investor ready'.

The capacity building workshops were introduced at a Board Level Briefing on 29 January at Merrion House in Leeds. The briefing, which was for decision makers with responsibility for medium sized companies, explained how low-carbon projects can be profitable and gave examples of businesses that have already benefitted.

The scheme is the initiative of Leeds Climate Commission, a partnership with members from 25 of the city’s key organisations in the private, public and third sector. The Commission provides an independent voice in the city, providing authoritative advice on steps towards a low carbon, climate resilient future.

Analysis by the researchers at the University of Leeds led by Prof Andy Gouldson, Chair of Leeds Climate Commission, highlights enormous potential for Leeds-based organisations to pursue cost-effective, low-carbon measures. Leeds could save over £270m annually by investing in cost effective energy saving and low carbon measures, cutting energy bills and reducing carbon emissions significantly.

The analysis also identified a number of barriers to organisations' ability to reap the benefits of low carbon, meaning that many opportunities are left unexploited.

The workshops, which commence in March and run monthly until June 2019, are designed to address the challenges that organisations can face in terms of identifying and developing project ideas, preparing a business case, linking with investors and securing finance for selective investment. 

"Immediate benefits" to bottom line

David Kilduff, Head of Walker Morris' Energy, Infrastructure & Government Team, chairs the Commission's Project Development and Finance group and will present at the Board Level Briefing for local businesses that wish to learn more about how to identify, finance and deliver cost-effective energy savings and small-scale renewable projects.

"Many organisations are starting to realise the potential of transitioning to low carbon schemes.  The benefits can be immediate to the bottom line in terms of energy costs reduction as well as meeting growing customer expectation that business is playing its part in tackling local emissions and climate change. 

"It also makes sense to assure energy resilience and security of energy supply. With some forecasts predicting that energy costs could rise by as much as 25% over the next few years, energy supply and efficiency is an issues that will only increase in prominence in the board room."

Opportunities for low carbon projects

Leeds Climate Commission, which was launched in September 2017, is the first of its kind in the UK and has the full backing of Leeds City Council. “The Climate Commission was set up to help unlock opportunities,” said Andy Gouldson.

"Garnering investment in practical energy-saving measures is a win-win for all involved. Industry wins, local authorities win, householders win and the climate wins.” 

The project development and finance workshops are linked to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) Energy Accelerator programme, designed to help low carbon and energy efficient projects become a reality where they may otherwise not have been completed due to a lack of capacity, expertise and funding. 

The only programme of its kind anywhere in the UK, the Energy Accelerator will increase levels of technical support and investment for low-carbon projects in Leeds City Region, enabling at least £60m worth of capital investment.

For more information and to register your interest, go to: http://leeds.candocities.org/event/business-capacity-building-developing-and-securing-finance-low-carbon-energy-projects 

Read the Commission's Annual Report.