Today marks the beginning of Bristol City Leap’s 20 year journey towards transforming the way that Bristol generates, distributes, stores and uses energy.

Bristol City Leap was approved by Bristol’s Mayor and Cabinet in December 2022 and contracts to finalise the energy partnership have now been signed by representatives from the organisations that make up the newly established Joint Venture – Bristol City Council and Ameresco, with Vattenfall as an essential sub-contractor. Also present were Councillor Kye Dudd, Bristol’s Cabinet Member for Climate, Ecology, Energy and Waste, Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor for Finance, members of the Bristol City Leap team and representatives of Bristol’s One City Environment Board.

The signing ceremony took place at Bristol’s iconic SS Great Britain, part of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s innovative legacy of engineering within the city and a fitting setting to kick-start a world-first partnership which heralds a new era for the city’s green energy revolution.

The goal of this cutting-edge partnership is to bring in over £1 billion of investment to help make Bristol carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2030 by rapidly increasing the scale and pace of investment into low carbon energy infrastructure for the city.

Over the next five years alone, Bristol City Leap is expected to deliver at least £424 million in a range of large infrastructure projects to reduce Bristol’s carbon footprint by 140,000 tonnes. Projects will include a major expansion of Bristol’s award-winning Heat Network, providing local businesses and residents with access to reliable, fairly priced, low carbon heat from sustainable sources. Solar panels and low carbon heating systems will also be installed at local schools and Bristol City Council’s social housing will be made more energy efficient.

Bristol City Leap will be an initiative with social value at its heart and has the potential to deliver a better quality of life for local residents and is a critical step in our city’s commitment to climate action. It is estimated that Bristol City Leap will deliver a minimum of £61.5 million of social value to the city over the next five years including over 1,000 new jobs, apprenticeships and work placements, a new Community Energy Development Fund worth £1.5 million as well as a commitment to Bristol City Leap staff, and any sub-contractors within the supply chain being paid at least the Real Living Wage.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol said: “Bristol City Leap is a big deal for Bristol. This is a world first and sets out a clear blueprint for city-scale decarbonisation for other cities and regions to follow. Bristol City Leap will have a real impact for Bristol residents including the ways that we power and heat our homes, which is perhaps more important than ever before.

“With Bristol City Leap, our city will become a real focal point for new low carbon technologies and smart energy systems whilst creating thousands of jobs and ensuring a just transition. I’m delighted that we have found a partner that shares our vision for a fairer, decarbonised future and it’s great to welcome Ameresco and their partner Vattenfall to Bristol today.”

Bristol City Leap is expected to install over 182 Mega Watts of low carbon energy generation across Bristol over the first five years of operation whilst enabling additional community-owned renewable energy projects to help residents play a part in Bristol’s journey to carbon neutrality.

Britta MacIntosh, Senior Vice President of Ameresco said “Our excitement for the potential of Bristol City Leap continues to build as we move past another significant milestone of contract signing. As municipalities across the globe consider next steps in their own decarbonisation path, we hope Bristol City Leap is a showcase example of how action drives transformative results.”

Members of Bristol City Council, Ameresco, Vattenfall and Bristol City Leap outside Brunel's SS Great Britain

Members of Bristol City Council, Ameresco, Vattenfall Heat UK and Bristol City Leap beneath Brunel’s SS Great Britain.

Stuart Allison, Director of Strategy at Vattenfall Heat UK commented: “We are excited to be working with Bristol City Council and Ameresco as part of Bristol City Leap. Bristol City Council have laid strong foundations and we look forward to continuing the work on this forward thinking project that will have such a positive impact on the lives of Bristol residents.

“Welcoming new heat customers on board has been a fantastic start to the year. We look forward to expanding the heat network to deliver reliable, low-carbon heat to customers across Bristol and enabling carbon neutrality by 2030.”

Bristol City Leap has published a summary of its five year business plan covering the range of projects expected to be delivered up until 2027 and will be discussing opportunities across the city through a series of community launch events in March 2023. Find out more on our About page.