The Nottingham 2020 Sustainable Energy Strategy

NEP produced The Nottingham Sustainable Energy Strategy on behalf of Nottingham City Council, and was passed by full Council on July 12th 2010.

In 2007 NEP presented an outline of the renewable energy and energy saving potential in the city at a public event called climate change beyond the basics.

View the presentation.

In this presentation NEP identified and quantified, for the first time, all the major energy generation opportunities in the city. Following this NEP were commissioned to write the city’s energy strategy.

The Strategy provides an overarching framework for the City’s plans, programmes and initiatives relating to sustainable energy supply and use to 2020: cutting emissions, maintaining energy security, maximising economic opportunities, and protecting the most vulnerable households. The Strategy and the associated action plan will ensure that Nottingham accelerates the development, use and value of its energy resource and energy efficiency potential.

In 2011 NEP turned the strategy and action plan into a fully developed and interactive model for the city using the Vantage Point software. NEP further developed the model and action plan to produce a fully costed action plan for the city’s Covenant of Majors submission leading to recognition in Europe of Nottingham as the UKs front runner in the sustainable energy race.

In 2012 NEP was commissioned to undertake a full economic and skills impact assessment of the Nottingham energy strategy to determine skills needs and the likely local jobs created within the city to deliver the adopted targets. Amongst other conclusions the analysis showed that 800 jobs could be created or retained by 2017 and a further 1,480 during the period 2017-2021. These jobs would be both in the direct delivery of the city strategy and through the resulting money kept in the local economy. Results of this analysis have been used to help inform the D2N2 2013-16 growth plan for Low Carbon Goods and Services.

View the full Energy Strategy.


The Action Plan prioritises the delivery of:

  • A 26% reduction of carbon dioxide emissions against 2005 levels,
  • 20% of the City’s own energy generated from low or zero carbon sources by the target date of 2020, as set out in the local Sustainable Community Strategy.

At a national level the Government’s Low Carbon Transition Planand Renewable Energy Strategy in particular provide very challenging targets. The Strategy details how we will meet our proportional ‘pro rata per capita’ contribution to the national Renewable Energy Strategy targets, which is estimated in the City at:

  • 2% (37GWh) generation from small scale sources
  • 12% (342.7GWh) generation from renewable heat sources

Nottingham’s Current Status

Nottingham is starting the low carbon transition from the front, with a considerable lead. Between 2003 and 2006 the City reduced domestic gas consumption by 16%; the greatest fall of all Local Authorities in the East Midlands and of all the Core Cities. In 2006 we generated 3% of our own heat and power from renewables and waste, making Nottingham the most energy self-sufficient City in the UK.

We also generated 11.45% of our own heat and power from gas CHP (combined heat and power) and renewables. Nottingham is the leading City in the country in distributed energy generation. Generation of 11.45% of our own energy from low or zero carbon sources, against the 20% Sustainable Communities Strategy target is a remarkable achievement and a very strong starting point for the challenge ahead.

Key Actions

To meet the national and local targets for heat and power will be very challenging, even given Nottingham’s leading position. This will require the development of all the City’s major renewable and low carbon energy resources from large scale biomass to a rapid increase in the uptake of domestic renewable energy systems.

The Action Plan alongside the Energy Strategy represents a detailed map to achieve our local and national 2020 targets. National targets for small scale electricity generation and renewable heat steer us towards biomass fuel and renewable electricity generation.

In particular, to meet national and local targets for heat and power will require;

  • More than doubling the size of the City district heating network
  • Development of a local biomass processing and transfer site
  • Significant capacity of new biomass CHP plant with associated district heating
  • Consideration of a City anaerobic digester

Alongside energy generation, Nottingham will need to make a significant cut in energy demand to provide a 26% reduction in carbon emissions to 1,329k tonnes CO2 per annum by 2020 as stated in the Sustainable Communities Strategy, but also to enable the achievement of target energy generation (reduction in demand eases proportional generation targets).

The City Council will lead by example by targeting a 45% reduction in emissions by 2020. The majority of emission cuts will however come from the domestic sector; reducing energy consumption and reducing the impact of fuel price increases. The City will be able to achieve a 37.6% reduction in CO2 emissions from domestic energy efficiency by 2020. This will be achieved through the work of the City Council, Nottingham Energy Partnership and local housing associations working with householders and communities. A 23.4% reduction in CO2 emissions is expected from industrial and commercial sector energy efficiency by 2020.

Significant savings of around 20% also need to be made in transport emissions. A further saving of around 5% will be met from installing all the low or zero energy generation systems detailed in the Strategy. Over all these saving should provide a total reduction of 28.3% by 2020.

The Challenge

Funding for the major energy generation, supply chain and energy efficiency programmes will be the greatest challenge. This Strategy has identified the key strategic objective and numerical targets, the Action Plan details priorities for investment. These priority actions provide the best carbon, energy and financial returns and will provide a focus for development over the next 10 years.

Contact Us

If you would like more information, or to talk to our consultancy team about creating an energy strategy for your local area or community contact us for a free consultation. 

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