What does “energy transition” mean for your city? What is the current status and what are the future goals?

Milton Keynes Council has contracted an international energy company to deliver the ambitious carbon reduction targets in MK. Engie is working with the organisation Local Partnerships to identify the MKC owned buildings where the greatest savings could be made.

There will be more solar PV installations and more EV charging points. Further phases will extend to heat network feasibility and surveys to domestic properties.

Targets in Milton Keynes are to be carbon neutral by 2030 and carbon negative by 2050.

We are making good progress, in 2019 (latest data available) there were 4.1 tonnes CO2 per year per capita, down from 7.7 in 2005. Milton Keynes will have a new fleet of 60 electric buses.

Through the POTEnT Regional Action Plan, Milton Keynes will work with businesses to speed up CO2 reductions in commercial buildings and provide organisations with advice and grant information.

POTEnT is about localizing energy transition: how can local governments communicate more effectively and involve citizens and stakeholders on climate and energy issues? Do you have any successful example to share?

We have found the best ways to communicate effectively is by meeting local people at conferences where we can present how we are progressing towards targets. We always allow time for Q +A sessions after presentations and provide contact details for people to leave comments on line, social media or by phone. 

Surveys are a great way to find out what citizens would like to see in the city, again allowing plenty of space for comments and suggestions.

Attending local green fairs and networking events for environmental organisations are another way to make Milton Keynes officers available for discussions. A successful example is the Milton Keynes Sustainability Conference 2020. We allowed time for discussions after each speaker. Everyone who had something to say had their chance to speak to Directors and politicians and address the whole conference.

POTEnT will end next year: what has the cooperation with the other partners brought you so far? Which good practices are you willing to import in your RAP?

Our Swedish partners are working with some amazing organisations who are bringing excellent green energy projects that replace fossil fuels. These projects demonstrate the efficient use of the local forest resources and also how many years it takes to build these projects to large scale. It is unfortunate that the UK does not have the same forestry resources as Sweden.

The thematic events were useful for finding new ways to work with citizens and how partners used different financial models. During the thematic events we identified a gap in cap in carbon reduction co-operation with businesses. Through the Milton Keynes Regional Action Plan (RAP) we will be addressing this by working with colleagues and local businesses to reduce carbon emissions.

The Milton Keynes RAP will deliver community energy projects through collaborative working with local partners. Several POTEnT partners have good examples of collaborative working and Lorient is providing MK with the knowledge and experience of the projects in their region. Bien La has inspired sowing seeds in Milton Keynes for a Green Business Network. SIPnR has provided ideas for developing low carbon projects through local partnerships. The Taranis Network has provided the idea that skills need to be developed alongside the creation of community energy projects.