Bristol City Council awarded £2.5m for renewable energy project

Bristol City Council has been awarded £2.5m to invest in renewable energy schemes across the city which it hopes will create up to 1,500 jobs.

The money comes from the European Investment bank and will be spent on improving the energy efficiency in over 6,000 homes and public buildings.

The Liberal Democrat-run council also wants to set up its own energy company.

The council is working with the City of Bristol College to deliver the skilled labour required for the project.

'Arm's-length company'

Council leader Barbara Janke said: "We will be establishing an energy company which will be able to generate renewable energy.

"We believe this has huge scope for bringing down the cost of energy and will make us more resilient and less sensitive to the national energy market.

"We can generate our own power either through the wind turbines that we're putting up; equally if we have photovoltaic panels."

When asked if private home-owners in the city would be able to switch their energy supplier to the council, she said: "I think that would need to be a bit more worked out.

"But we will certainly be looking to feed the national grid and we will be paid for that."

Ms Janke described the energy company as an "arm's-length" enterprise.

She said: "Local authorities were, in their heyday, essentially providers of public utilities.

"So this is not so much a departure as a return to something that was rather successful in its day.

"Being able to have that kind of business organisation means we can bring other private concerns in - we would clearly not be doing everything ourselves."

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