Local authorities have a major role to play in helping the UK meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement. COP26 has focused minds on upcoming climate deadlines – 70% have already declared a climate emergency.

Local authorities are democratically accountable so regional and local leaders who develop strong relationships with local businesses are in a unique position to drive the behavioural changes needed at a localised level to achieve the UK’s target of net zero by 2050. Grass roots understanding Equally, local leaders have the best understanding of the unique economic needs of their regions. They have the potential to look across the whole local energy system to help coordinate the divergent streams - from heat networks to electric vehicles - that need to be integrated to build a truly smart energy system. Pressure on local authorities However, there is pressure on the public sector, local authorities in particular, to deliver for their communities on all fronts: to reduce carbon emissions whilst reviving the economy, to cut pollution whilst attracting business and new residents. But the green agenda is not opposed to economic prosperity. Addressing key challenges By investing in smart energy infrastructure that integrates whole systems thinking, councils can offer attractive work and life benefits. Residents, businesses and investors who see a local area is decarbonising – investing in renewables, working with industry partners to deliver innovative energy solutions, deploying EV infrastructure at pace - will make the move to take their own low carbon actions.

For many local authorities, housing, buildings, waste and transport are the biggest carbon emitters - and will become priorities for activity. Electric vehicles and their charging infrastructure are essential - both at council owned locations but also more widely for private charging facilities. Low carbon district heating systems are also a consideration to be explored and with the latest moves into heat pumps , hydrogen and green gas development, it’s predicted that connected heating systems will increase significantly in coming years. How SSE Energy Solutions can help Our experience shows there are many barriers to progress, such as siloed procurement, disparate time lines within authorities, lack of funds, skills and capacity – and in some cases restriction by regulation. Taking a broader approach to local area energy planning facilitates the introduction of integrated, low carbon energy infrastructure that delivers smart data insights - benefiting local service provision and accelerating the journey to net zero. To help facilitate this step change SSE Energy Solutions can provide the expertise and skills, the innovative thinking for looking at energy ‘in the round’ and also the financial investment designed to benefit your communities and local economies for the long term. Our Smart Cities and Places proposition provides a seamless integration of assets, control systems, data and processes to enable the transition to zero carbon.

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