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Revolution in city power networks and funding

Urban energy and power specialist at the Department of Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills (BEIS), Patrick Allcorn, will talk at Future Cities Forum ' Healthy Cities' in January at the Apothecaries' Hall. Patrick has been Head of Home and Local Energy at the BEIS since 2015, where his team developed the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive.

The forum will look at all elements necessary to create sustainable cities in the UK and our opening speaker is Dr Fiona Twycross, Chief Resilience Officer for the GLA.

The BEIS recently launched - at the COP24 climate talks in Poland - a strategy for creating the UK's first carbon-free industrial cluster by 2040. It is backed by £170 million of funding to help heavy industries like steel, ceramics, cement, chemicals, paper and glass, share expertise.

Patrick commented: 'We are now at a pivotal stage of development where cities can take advantage of new heat networks and power technologies, while at the same time they are expected to provide electric vehicle charging points, and plan for 5G communications. All this new technology demands a place-based approach from local authorities that is properly joined up. We need to prepare now how all these innovations can be built in a unified fashion, rather than retrofitted in haphazard ways at a later date.'

Patrick went onto describe how new funding models are in development, and while these will draw on existing municipal bonds, green bonds (which are growing very quickly in Europe) and local bonds, they will rely partly on large scale infrastructure funds.

He added: 'Bristol has been running a new city-wide energy trial with Bristol City Leap, and this could act as blue-print for other cities. However both Manchester and the West Midlands Combined Authority have different styles of programmes. Noteworthy is Newcastle's 40 year joint venture with French company Engie to operate low carbon district energy schemes within the city.'

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