The Oxfordshire Energy Strategy will set out an ambitious framework to enable the county to be at the forefront of energy innovation to foster clean growth.
Senior business bosses from across Oxfordshire have gathered in Bicester as a new and ambitious energy strategy for Oxfordshire, with the ability to create a ’stand-out’ low-carbon economy, was last night (6 November) officially launched.
The Oxfordshire Energy Strategy will help to support the county play its part in addressing climate change, challenging the county to commit to reducing emissions by 50% (compared with 2008 levels) by 2030 and set a pathway to achieve zero carbon growth by 2050, or sooner.
It also aims to secure a smart, modern, clean energy infrastructure and responds to the Government’s ‘clean growth’ grand challenge, recognising ‘the major opportunities and need’ to move to cleaner economic growth through low-carbon technologies and the efficient use of resources.
Alongside key partners working within the county’s low-carbon sector, the Oxfordshire Energy Strategy was launched by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) at the recently-opened Eco Centre at Elmsbrook in Bicester – itself, a building designed to be eco-friendly and sustainable with aspirations to be the first non-domestic building in the UK to achieve ‘Passivhaus Plus’, a rigorous standard for energy efficiency, developed by the Passivhaus Institute in Germany.
It’s hoped the Oxfordshire Energy Strategy can provide the building blocks for a stand-out, low-carbon sector too.
Currently – the county’s low-carbon sector already makes a significant contribution to Oxfordshire’s overall economy, generating £1.15bn a year (around seven per cent of Oxfordshire’s overall GVA).
The strategy suggests that it can help to spearhead a further £1.35bn annually to the local economy through the low-carbon sector, potentially leading to over 11,000 new jobs by 2030.
In doing so, it would also mean the county will deliver emission reduction targets in-line with local and national expectations, meaning the strategy will play a key part in addressing climate change too.
Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP – said: “Oxfordshire champions and welcomes ‘world-class’ innovation in clean growth, backing sustainability in the process. The Oxfordshire Energy Strategy will build on the county’s commitment to embrace innovation, placing it as a pioneer in modern energy and clean growth technologies.
“It also provides a clear opportunity for collaboration and partnership working and seeks to harness, leverage and scale-up low carbon initiatives to have a more significant impact – not just locally – but nationally and internationally too and provides a platform to bring top-class skills for a zero-carbon future.
“The Oxfordshire Energy Strategy can help to inspire young people and create career pathways in the low-carbon sector, as well as enhancing entrepreneurial attitudes.”
OxLEP added that the Oxfordshire Energy Strategy will play an integral role in supporting the county’s Local Industrial Strategy to meet its ambition too, aligning with its vision to position the county as a top-three global innovation ecosystem by 2040.
It also says that it ‘recognises and prioritises local need’, helping the county to harness innovation and technology, as well as supporting a better understanding of a cultural change to local energy.
OxLEP added that the Oxfordshire Energy Strategy can also help to create employment opportunities for people locally, as well as supporting greater access to new markets for Oxfordshire businesses.
Simon Potts, A2Dominion’s Director of Strategic Land and Planning said: “A2Dominion are pleased to be supporting the Oxfordshire Energy Strategy launch. As a residential property group with a social purpose, we are committed to delivering sustainable communities.
“At Elmsbrook, NW Bicester, A2Dominion are providing 393 affordable and private new homes on the first phase of the UK’s only eco-town and the only true zero carbon development of its size.”
Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP – added: “Clean energy offers communities and businesses real opportunity in Oxfordshire and the UK. The low-carbon economy has the potential to grow by 11 per cent, per year over the next decade to 2030, four times faster than the projected growth of the UK economy.
“The Oxfordshire Energy Strategy will demonstrate to the UK how we can consume energy more efficiently and harness it for future generations.”
Pictured above; OxLEP's Director of Strategy and Programmes, Ahmed Goga, speaking at the launch event (5 November).