Delivering the green transition: 3Ci members lead the way

“Climate positive places are already here – they’re just not evenly distributed”.

Learn how places are delivering inspiring projects to meet ambitious net zero pledges. 3ci provides a springboard to unlock investment to replicate these across the UK and help win the race to zero emissions.

Cities are home to more than half the world’s population and produce 60% of greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing these to net zero is critical. The technical solutions are largely known – and as this article demonstrates, have been successfully financed and implemented in a range of places.

Hackney’s foot on the electric accelerator

The UK is aiming for 55% of vehicles on its roads to be electric by 2032. Hackney plans to smash that target, looking for 90% uptake by 2030. This will be facilitated by a rapid roll out of EV charge points from around 300 council owned points today to 3000 (at least one per estate) by 2030.  

The charge points, which will be powered from 100% renewable sources, which will in some cases be locally generated, will also be sustainable in another sense: they are projected to raise more than £9 million in income for the council.  

Supporting private electric vehicle uptake is just one part of Hackney’s overall strategy to reduce transport-related emissions. Other elements include: 

  • supporting a reduction in vehicle ownership and vehicle miles driven  
  • supporting active travel 
  • electrifying the council’s own fleet of vehicles.  

Councillor Mete Coban MBE, cabinet member for energy, waste, transport and public realm, said:

“These new charging points will help reduce the concerns some people have about switching to an electric vehicle. 

“In turn this will benefit all of our residents as it will help enhance the borough’s air quality 

“While encouraging more people to switch to an electric vehicle, if we are going to make Hackney an even better place to live and work we also must continue looking at schemes to drive an overall reduction in vehicle ownership. 

“This is where initiatives such as School Streets and low traffic neighbourhoods – supporting us all to walk, cycle and use public transport locally – play a key role.” 

Find out more:

Belfast’s incubation of green maritime innovation

While CO2 makes the headlines, sulphur and nitrous oxides can also contribute to the acceleration of global warming. Shipping produces around 14% of these gases which are also the main drivers of acid rain, with 30% of these emissions created by domestic voyages. If nothing changes, maritime emissions could increase by as much as 250% by 2050. 

We need new, low-emission ways of moving goods and people across our oceans and waterways. Belfast’s thriving innovation economy – centred around its Titanic quarter – is helping invent them. Artemis Technologies has just launched the world’s first 100% electric foiling workboat, and is now leading the Belfast Maritime Consortium in developing a high-speed zero emission electric hydrofoil ferry.  

The first vessel will launch as a pilot ferry service between Bangor and Belfast as early as 2024. The speed of this development highlights the advantages of bringing together place leaders, investors and inventors into dedicated hubs of innovation.

Clare Guinness, Belfast Innovation District Director commented:

“Belfast, a shining example of strength of place, has a long-standing reputation for punching above its weight when it comes to innovation and shaping the upward trajectory of global sectors such as FinTech, RegTech, cyber security, transport, aerospace, and advanced manufacturing.  

“With the talents of Artemis Technologies, an anchor tenant in Belfast’s thriving Innovation District, and its revolutionary range of green sea vessels, the city is once again set to be at the forefront of global change, and we couldn’t be prouder. 

“Artemis is combining our city’s rich maritime heritage and indigenous skillset with its transformative technology to, not only herald a new era of sustainable shipbuilding for Belfast, but to the lead UK’s charge towards Net Zero, spearhead the Green Industrial Revolution, and transform the maritime industry on a global scale – a true testament to the power of place-based innovation and collaboration.” 

Find out more:

Bristol’s solar-powered stadium

With the energy bills on the rise and no price-cap in place for commercial users, switching to solar is now an obvious choice. Both bills and emissions reduce.

Bristol City Council are leaders in this space, having initially started working on renewable initiatives in 2005. They have installed 2MW across 70 commercial roofs across the city – all paid for through public borrowing and therefore requiring a robust return on investment.

In 2016, Bristol’s Ashton Gate stadium was fitted with enough solar panels to power 23 average sized homes. CO2 emissions were reduced by 20% the panels are projected to save £150,000 in energy costs over their lifetime.

The council continues to make progress in this space through developing viable financial models for scale up.

Richard Lowe, Investment Programme Manager at Bristol City Council Energy Service explains:

“We are currently developing a viable package of solar PV installations on schools and academies based on collecting income from selling the solar energy to the building users through a Power Purchase Agreement, with paybacks of between 10 to 15 years.”

Find out more:

West Midlands – reducing fuel poverty and emissions through retrofit

A Birmingham couple reduced their household fuel bills by more than £1000 per year. The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) are helping hundreds of households emulate them through a wide ranging set of initiatives to support retrofit. Put simply, retrofitting means making existing properties more energy efficient through insulation, low carbon heating and installing solar panels.

Extensive retrofit is needed to reach net zero because 27% of the UK’s emissions come from buildings – and the majority of those from housing. We can’t simply build greener homes because most of our current housing stock will continue to be in use in 2050.

WMCA is tackling this challenge on multiple fronts:

  • tapping into grants like the Social Housing Decarbonisation fund and topping up from its own budget
  • working with the Retrofit Academy to build the necessary skills in the region
  • coordinating an energy-performance assessment for all properties in the area to encourage market-led investment

Find out more:

Glasgow’s “Greenprint” for investment

With a punchy carbon neutral target date of 2030, Glasgow recognised a need to bring in private investment to speed up its transition. It launched its ‘Greenprint’ prospectus in September last year in the run up to COP26. The prospectus showcases opportunities for private investors to contribute to a range of initiatives across the climate action spectrum. For example:

  • £10 billion home retrofit programme
  • £500 million plan to make Glasgow Innovation District climate neutral and resilient
  • Planting 18 million trees in Clyde Climate Forest

With investor incentives ranging from funding for recruitment and rental costs through to partner match-making and aftercare, the Greenprint offers large investors a low-friction way of adding climate-positive elements to their portfolios.

Find out more:


Get the latest news delivered to your inbox