The Cambridgeshire Mobilising Local Energy Investment (MLEI) project was set-up in 2012 to initiate delivery of low carbon energy projects in Cambridgeshire. Its mission is to enable investment in renewable energy generation and energy efficiency schemes on a more significant scale than before. This involved the creation of an investment fund, a program delivery unit, delivery mechanisms and a pipeline of energy generation and energy efficiency projects.
MLEI builds directly from work on the Cambridgeshire Renewable Infrastructure Framework, which assessed the potential for energy generation across the County, taking into account the County’s growth. This results in two factors, which made MLEI particularly interesting and important:
- Low carbon energy projects delivered as a result of MLEI are diverse – making the most of investment opportunities to maximise delivery wherever schemes are viable. Building fabric retrofits, renewable energy retrofits, low carbon energy generation for new buildings, standalone renewable projects and neighbourhood schemes (district heating) would all be possible in the long term.
- Use of public sector assets to facilitate step change – MLEI aims to facilitate the gradual change between where they are now and reaching the full potential for low carbon energy in Cambridgeshire. The projects initial outputs will use public sector assets to initiate this step change.
Specific objectives of the MLEI project during its operation have been:
- To set up a Low Carbon Investment Fund for Cambridgeshire, and attract investment to deliver low carbon infrastructure (30 M€ to 50 M€)
- To set up appropriate delivery mechanisms, through the Cambridgeshire Low Carbon Development Unit, managed to deliver retrofit and renewable energy projects financed via the Investment Fund
- To identify, develop and procure an investment programme for retrofitting and renewable energy projects of at least 17,03 Million €, focused initially on public sector and community based schemes
Strategic objectives of the MLEI project beyond its operational period are:
- To reduce the carbon footprint of Cambridgeshire through creation of long term sustainable finance opportunities up to 2020 and beyond.
- To develop a pipeline of projects including larger scale projects that can be funded and deliver transformational market change through building on the learning from this project.
There are 3 types of stakeholders involved.
- Investors – banks, fund managers (small and large), larger companies with investment capability or ambition, local businesses and entrepreneurs, public sector funding managers (Local Enterprise Partnership)
- Decision makers – MLEI local authority Members are the key decision makers for the Fund investments and its governance. They also have a role in the success of the MLEI policy environment that supports local energy investment and governance for any low carbon investment fund.
- Asset and Estate Managers – not necessarily just officers from local authorities and other public sector institutions, but also their subcontractors and advisors i.e. the people who can enable energy projects that utilise public assets and public or private sector funding streams.
The project, with a total budget of 1,117 M€ was co-funded by a grant from the Intelligent Energy Europe – Mobilising Local Energy Investments (IEE-MLEI) program, for an amount of more than 700.000 £ (900.000 €).
A consortium of local authorities, is delivering the project, lead by Cambridgeshire County Council, including South Cambridgeshire District Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridge City Council.