Meeting Cambridgeshire’s Energy Needs – what next?

Published: Friday, 20th December 2013

Seasons Greetings! A formal note of our Community Event on the 21st November is now available Notes from MLEI Community Event 21st Nov.

Seasons Greetings!

A formal note of our Community Event on the 21st November is now available Notes from MLEI Community Event 21st Nov.

The purpose of the event was to bring together participants from the Cambridgeshire Renewables Infrastructure Framework (CRIF) project which was the predecessor of the MLEI project, to update them on MLEI and the structures currently being discussed to facilitate development of low carbon infrastructure.

In some very lively and challenging discussions some questions arose that have provoked much further thought from the MLEI team…

  • To what extent is the model of low carbon investment fund and low carbon delivery unit a ‘done deal’? Certainly there needs to be flexibility within the model to accommodate new ideas and opportunities. The MLEI project team are now looking at a phased development model which will continue to evolve as further investment projects are developed. This model needs to be able to adapt as circumstances change.
  • Is the level of ambition appropriate? This is an interesting one as a certain level of ambition is necessary to get projects like this off the ground. Our view is that the longer term our ambitions around overall investment levels are appropriate in that it sets clearly the vision for what we’re trying to achieve. However, its important that we take smaller, incremental steps in the shorter term, testing and refining as we go, sharing our learning and open to collaboration. This is a more pragmatic approach that recognises the many challenges faced in delivering low carbon infrastructure.
  • How can MLEI help community scale projects? There are three aspects of work here for the MLEI team:

First is around developing the project pipeline – a major priority for the project. This includes some feasibility work on community buildings retrofit, which Huntingdonshire District Council are progressing, but also includes our work looking at retrofit of schools and other public buildings using an Energy Performance Contracting arrangement to manage the work.

Second is the issue of how we can use our existing skills and knowledge to support community groups to develop projects. This is an issue we would like to build into considerations for the role of the Low Carbon Development Unit, especially beyond the initial MLEI project period up to 2015.

Third and related to the previous point is how we can ensure the Low Carbon Development Unit (LCDU) and Low Carbon Investment Fund (LCIF) is properly financially supported during the first few years of operation.

A proposal for public funds from the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership has been submitted, seeking funds to support investments, and to support the functioning of the LCDU.