Energy co-op to join Leicestershire Council net zero feasibility study

Green Fox Community Energy Co-op will work with the authority on one of 31 UK projects to receive funding

A community energy project is joining partnership led by Leicestershire County Council to develop plans to hit the area’s 2045 net zero target.

Green Fox Community Energy Co-op has joined national consultancy the Energy Systems Catapult in the Leicestershire CAN (Collaboration to Accelerate Net Zero) feasibility study, led by the council. The project will work alongside the county’s district and borough councils, Leicester City Council and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership.

Green Fox was launched by locals in Leicestershire to facilitate the increase of community-owned renewable and low carbon technology in the area. So far it has set up biomass energy systems in two schools and helped to develop a solar farm.

Ben Dodd, director of Green Fox, said: “Working innovatively with partners in this way means we can accelerate community-based net zero delivery, ensuring local people play a meaningful and active part in the decarbonisation of Leicestershire.”

Councillor Blake Pain, the cabinet member for the environment and green agenda, said: “The funding is awarded to projects that lead the way in the net zero field, so for us to be recognised and rewarded in this way highlights the value of our plans and shows we are serious about making them a reality. The full council approved our Net Zero Strategy and Action Plan at the end of last year.

“The funding allows us to take it to the next level by developing a model to allow all partners to work together and remove the barriers to deliver our net zero aims.”

Innovate UK, a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, says its overall national Net Zero programme focuses on overcoming ‘non-technical’ or social systemic barriers such as finance, governance, regulation and engagement.

Innovate UK’s executive director for net zero Mike Biddle said: “Working with our partners in government, we are taking bold steps towards achieving net zero and levelling up our communities.

“Many of the solutions needed to reach net zero are starting to become available, but making it happen isn’t easy.

“Local authorities have a key role to play in addressing up to 30% of our carbon emissions, and even more through their influence on planning and policy decisions.

“It is so exciting to see this work begin because of the huge potential it has to make a real impact for our communities.

“We’re eager to see the results of the feasibility studies and take the most promising projects to the next stage.”

Projects range from examples such as decarbonising transport, housing retrofit, and local energy planning.