New report points to energy independent future for Greater Exeter

The Greater Exeter area could be generating most of its own energy within 10 years, according to a new report.

Energy Independence 2025 sets out 10 key recommendations to help reduce energy consumption and boost clean energy generation across Exeter and its travel-to-work area.

It indicates that Devon’s capital is well placed to unlock a thriving energy sector and become a demonstrator for other cities around the world seeking to overcome their own energy supply challenges. 

The report, authored by City Science, has been commissioned by Exeter City Futures to underpin its bold ambition to make Exeter energy independent and congestion free by 2025.

Greater Exeter has access to abundant and wide-ranging natural energy resources offering vast untapped potential for generating low carbon energy.

The report predicts that Greater Exeter’s demand for energy will rise by 13% by 2025 due to forecast household and business growth and the associated increase in transport demand.

The report documents the significant scope for reducing demand, increasing generation and developing new innovations over this timeframe that could contribute to delivering a sustainable future for Devon’s capital.

Compiled from in-depth research and expert contributions, the report provides a comprehensive analysis of the potential energy efficiency and generation opportunities from energy technologies such as solar PV, wind, bioenergy, hydro, marine and geothermal, as well as enabling technologies such as smart grids and energy storage.

It also provides a detailed analysis of the political, financial and technical barriers that must be overcome to achieve a city-wide initiative of this scale.

Exeter City Futures is a community interest company whose goal is to help cities find new solutions to complex challenges while supporting economic growth. It was founded in 2015 by Oxygen House, an Exeter-based business, and is working in partnership with Exeter City Council.

Glenn Woodcock, CEO of Exeter City Futures, said: “This report demonstrates that with significant collective effort, the vision for a truly sustainable city is achievable within a decade.

“Exeter City Futures will be taking forward the recommendations in this report and inviting participation through our programmes to support innovation in the required areas.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for the energy industry and Greater Exeter stands to benefit significantly by taking a leading role.”

The report is intended to provide local authorities and businesses with the data needed to formulate sustainable city plans, policies and innovations.

Karime Hassan, Chief Executive and Growth Director of Exeter City Council, said: “Greater Exeter is home to a thriving energy industry with the technical skills and practical expertise to deliver sustainable growth.

“With a high concentration of climate scientists and data analysts, Exeter is a leading city for the new sustainable industries outlined in this report.

“The council and our partners have made significant progress on our own energy targets, but with the city continuing to grow, we are continuing to work to promote the most sustainable practices for all new developments in our city.”