This paper considers the development of a strategic energy body in a local authority in the UK and looks at the perceived need for, and possible roles of, such a body. Historically, energy provision and management has not usually been a strategic priority for UK local authorities. Yet energy considerations are implicit in key local authority responsibilities such as transport, waste management, planning, and the provision of housing services. In addition, recent UK central government policies support the move to localism and provide incentives for low-carbon energy generation. A study was undertaken to assess the potential (including both the perceived benefits and actual capacity to deliver) for Leeds City Council to develop a strategic body to execute delivery of city-level energy decision-making. We examine the perceived benefits to a range of main stakeholders, using data drawn from interviews with managers responsible for low-carbon and renewable energy projects across the city. Through participant observation we explore the capacity of a local authority to deliver a strategic energy body, and we briefly examine the possible forms of delivery. We conclude with recommendations for national policy that would enable the development of strategic energy bodies across local governments in the UK.
- energy service companies (ESCos)
- local government
- strategic energy planning
- UK local authorities