Net Zero Go – the new climate platform turning local council ambition into action

  • Net Zero Go offers practical support to help more councils deliver clean energy projects that help meet net zero targets, and support a homegrown, secure UK energy system.
  • Created by Energy Systems Catapult in partnership with Salesforce, providers of Net Zero Cloud, and IBM
  • Funded by UKRI with support from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

With over 80% of councils in the UK now “declaring a climate emergency”, Net Zero Go has been launched as the ultimate platform to help local authorities turn net zero ambition into action.

In a decisive decade for climate change, Net Zero Go tackles many of the common barriers to action for local councils, such as time and resource, financing and procurement, and local energy knowhow.

Net Zero Go provides councils with a powerful, easy-to-use platform to help them put decarbonisation strategies in place and develop successful, locally-focused zero carbon projects, taking initiatives from a standing start to operational and beyond.

Developed over two years with £1.5million in investment from the UK Government, tools and resources for Net Zero Go were co-developed with local authorities and draw on a range of experience and expertise from leaders in local energy and investors, including UK Research and Innovation, Innovate UK, BEIS, UK Energy Hubs, APSE, Anthesis, Ashden, Cornwall Insights, EnergyRev, Local Partnerships, UK100, the Local Government Association, the Green Finance Institute, HM Treasury, and the UK Infrastructure Bank.

The platform was developed with IBM and Salesforce.

Philip New, chief executive, Energy Systems Catapult said: “Climate Change is a global challenge but the actions we need to take are often very local – retrofitting homes, installing electric vehicle charging networks, developing net zero energy systems, and creating sustainable zero carbon jobs.

“Net Zero Go helps local councils turn ambition into action in a decisive decade for climate change. The expert knowledge that councils hold on their local communities enables them to help deliver local net zero projects that best align with the needs and priorities of their area.

“The vital work of councils in combating climate change has been recognised by the Climate Change Committee and the UK Government, yet local authority resource has never been more strained.

“By addressing common barriers to realising local energy projects, such as financing and procurement, resource challenges, or local energy knowledge, Net Zero Go helps more councils get spades in the ground and accelerates the UK’s journey towards a cleaner, more secure energy future.

“Net Zero Go supports a fairer energy transition. Helping local councils with less resource and experience means that high employment, high income, low carbon initiatives can be more accessible to all.”

What is Net Zero Go?

Net Zero Go is a digital platform where local councils can create, plan, operate and manage successful, investable net zero projects.

It simplifies the process of building business cases by prioritising the often overwhelming level of sector information, making it accessible and useful by delivering the right resources at the right time.

A gold standard journey and templates utilising the experience of other councils provide a consistent approach to delivering local energy projects, helping local authorities meet their net zero carbon targets and maximise benefits to the local community.

Who has helped develop Net Zero Go?

Net Zero Go represents two years of intensive user research and consultation with local and central government, energy, and finance sectors.

Net Zero Go is the result of co-development, consultation and validation with leaders in local energy including UKRI, Innovate UK, UK Energy Hubs, APSE, Anthesis, Ashden, Cornwall Insights, EnergyRev, Local Partnerships, UK100, local authority and smart local energy system innovators from UKRI’s Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme.

The platform has also benefited from the expertise of the Local Government Association, investors, the Green Finance Institute, HM Treasury, and the UK Infrastructure Bank.

Many of the new tools and resources in the platform have been developed in collaboration with local authorities that have shared their key learnings and case studies. These include Cornwall Council, Rochdale Borough Council, West Sussex County Council, Oxfordshire County Council, and Sefton Council.

Technical development of the platform has been delivered by world leaders in digital innovation IBM, together with Salesforce.

Rob Saunders, Director of the UKRI’s Prospering from the Energy Revolution challenge, Innovate UK said: “Local authorities urgently need to move from ambition to action in their plans on climate, and we have funded Net Zero Go as a practical set of tools to help them do exactly that.

“We know, from recent research by PwC, that a place-specific approach to climate actions will help the UK reach Net Zero at lower cost and with far greater benefits than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

“In the Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme we aim to identify and help bring down the barriers to rollout of smart local energy systems. We look forward to more and more local authorities making rapid progress with the help of Net Zero Go.”

Polly Billington, Chief Executive, UK100 said: “”Local leaders have recognised the threat from the climate crisis by declaring climate emergencies up and down the country.

“At UK100, we see no shortage of cross-party political ambition to take action. The challenge now is accelerating progress from declaration to delivery.

“Net Zero Go will be an invaluable tool for local leaders to create, plan, operate and manage vital Net Zero projects that work for people and planet.”

Richard Morris, Partner – Energy, Environment and Utilities, IBM Consulting said: “We are living in a world that is witnessing an increasingly fragile and unpredictable environment. Being sustainable requires new levels of resilience and agility rooted in new business models and responsible practices that preserve our planet for future generations.

“Net Zero Go is a bold initiative by Energy Systems Catapult that will enable all market participants to collaborate and join forces to help meet UK PLC’s net zero and decarbonisation target.

“IBM believes all sectors of society, the economy and governments worldwide must participate in solutions to address climate change, IBM will continue to collaborate with clients, governments and other partners to create innovations and solutions to address climate change.

“As such we are very excited to be supporting Energy Systems Catapult in developing the Net Zero Go platform to help local authorities to meet the challenges involved in driving towards a cleaner, more secure, energy future.”

Register for Net Zero Go

Apply for an account and get full access to Net Zero Go's feature-packed platform. Free & open to all UK local authorities

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Why is local energy important to the UK’s net zero future?

What are the main challenges for local authorities taking action on net zero?

  • Intensive user research and consultation by Energy Systems Catapult highlighted a number of barriers for local authorities, including:
    • Knowing where to start
    • Getting decision makers on board
    • Finance and commerciality
    • Energy sector expertise
    • Policy and regulation
    • Procurement; and
    • Identifying co-benefits.

How can local authorities reduce the financial risk of local energy projects?

  • Ensuring adequate in-house capability and skills in local authorities to deliver projects that support net zero is critical to their success and increases the level of investor confidence in these types of programmes.
  • Councils currently employ a range of approaches for project delivery, from outsourcing to managing in-house; however, regardless of capacity, enough knowledge is required to be an intelligent client.
  • Upskilling council officers and empowering them to communicate key messages to decision makers and elected members is just one of the new areas of insight researched by the Energy Revolution Integration Service (ERIS) at Energy Systems Catapult, contributing to Net Zero Go – a new practical solution for councils that want to start or increase their experience in local energy.

Who funded the development of Net Zero Go?

  • Net Zero Go is funded by UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Prospering from the Energy Revolution challenge, supported by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and delivered by Energy Systems Catapult. Net Zero Go is a new platform making it easier for local authorities to realise and replicate sustainable energy projects.

Net Zero Go

Net Zero Go provides councils with a powerful, easy-to-use platform to help them put decarbonisation strategies in place and develop successful, locally-focused zero carbon projects, taking initiatives from a standing start to operational and beyond.

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