Net Zero project development and delivery case study: Bristol City Leap

During the first five years of the partnership, nearly £500 million will be invested in a range of large infrastructure projects including the significant expansion of Bristol’s award-winning Heat Network that provides local businesses and residents with access to reliable, affordable low carbon heat from sustainable sources. Solar panels and low carbon heating systems will be installed at local schools, the council’s social housing will be made more energy efficient to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, and substantial investment will go into community-owned renewable energy projects to help residents play a part in Bristol’s journey to carbon neutrality.

Vision for Bristol City Leap  

A sustainable environment, in which every individual has equal access to opportunities and is empowered to contribute to the continuing decarbonisation of their city whilst sharing in its success.  

Bristol City Leap’s Mission  

Action on City-scale decarbonisation of the built environment, working together to harness the power of communities, public and private sector resources to significantly respond to the climate emergency, fairly and inclusively, delivering shared outcomes for the city. 

Why Bristol City Leap? 

87% of people in Bristol are concerned about the impacts of climate change. Bristol’s One City Climate Strategy aims to make the city carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2030.  

The council has invested nearly £100 million in decarbonisation projects over the last five years but we need to rapidly increase the scale and pace of low carbon delivery in order to meet our targets. We see Bristol City Leap as one of the primary vehicles for delivering projects that will tackle climate change and help improvements in air quality in the city.   

What will Bristol City Leap deliver? 

As part of its winning bid to become Bristol City Council’s Strategic Partner for Bristol City Leap, Ameresco has contractually committed to the following Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) over the next five years: 

  • c140,000 tonnes of carbon saving. 
  • c.180MW of zero-carbon generation assets contributing to net zero carbon by 2030. 
  • c327GWh of zero carbon energy generated. 
  • c£22m of energy efficiency measures deployed. 
  • £61.5m of social value including c£50m of contracts delivered by local supply chain. 

To deliver on these commitments, Ameresco estimated that Bristol City Leap would need to invest £424m into low carbon energy infrastructure such as solar, wind, heat networks, heat pumps and energy efficiency measures – all of which will support Bristol meeting its carbon reduction ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. 

In addition, Ameresco has also committed to the following:  

  • A guaranteed £1.5m Community Energy Development Fund and a guaranteed £500k. Innovation fund over the first five years of the partnership.  
  • Development of a Community Benefit Fund expected to reach £2.8m during the 20 year partnership period.  
  • £2.34m of guaranteed payments and an estimated £1.63m of risk-based payments to BCC, the latter being dependent on the level of delivery by City Leap.  
  • An estimated £6m+ crowdfunding opportunities for residents to invest in City Leap projects.  
  • 410 new jobs created in Bristol and 1,000 jobs in total, all paying at least the ‘Real Living Wage’.  
  • Apprenticeships, training, work placements, mentoring and awareness opportunities. 

Strategic Goals for the Initial Business Plan By 2025:  

  • Achieving carbon neutrality of BCC’s operational estate.  
  • Supporting the development of a highly skilled local supply chain.  
  • Delivering consistently high level of decarbonisation projects to help drive down installation costs.  
  • Becoming first choice decarbonisation partner for all sectors in Bristol.  

Within five years:  

  • Developing a local energy trading market for all to participate fairly in.  
  • Demonstrating a successful, world-renowned partnership approach for city-scale decarbonisation.  

By 2030:  

  • Achieving EPC rating ‘C’ or better for all the Council’s social housing.  
  • Significantly contribute to Bristol becoming carbon neutral.  
  • Supporting significant reductions in cases of fuel poverty and unhealthy homes. 


Bristol City Leap is an innovative, world-first partnership and we have learned a great deal during its development. We are keen to collaborate and share our model with other cities across the UK and internationally to enable much wider decarbonisation. 


Useful links: 

More information on Bristol City Leap can be found at: and Bristol City Leap’s five year business plan can be found at: Summary of Initial Business Plan  



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