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UK smart city awarded for its progressive approach to energy saving

The UK city of Nottingham has been recognized by Huawei's latest UK Smart Cities Index for its progressive approach to energy conservation. Nottingham was given the Star Award in recognition for its energy efforts in the city.

Navigant Research, which is the analyst company that spearheaded the study, labelled Nottingham as a 'pioneer in new approaches to city energy'.  Its approach has been driven primarily from the ambitious energy targets it has set for 2020 which include a 26% reduction in carbon emissions against 2005 levels. It also aims to deliver 20% of the city's energy from zero or low carbon sources. In addition to this, city authorities have also committed to 100% green energy in Nottingham by 2050, as part of the UK100 pledge.

Nottingham is unique in comparison to other UK cities as its city council has direct control over much of the city's infrastructure, transport and housing.

According to the council's Marketing Officer for Energy Services, Ruth Stallwood, it enables the city to have more autonomy, independence and creativity on how it plans to achieve these targets. She said, "Like other cities, we are concerned about energy security, an uncertain future and rising fuel bills. This gives us more control within the city rather than being as dependent on energy markets."

Nottingham is lettered with examples of energy initiatives that include community energy projects, cutting-edge solar developments, a groundbreaking district heating network, and the use of fuel cell systems. This has subsequently led to these projects being highlighted as test beds and demonstrators for what is possible with energy, not just in Nottingham and the rest of the UK, but also on a global basis.

The city's leadership and innovation towards new energy is evidenced further with Project SCENe, which is a partnership that brings together companies along the energy supply chain and academics, working with 120 new homes to demonstrate a new way of providing locally generated heat and electricity. Some of the technologies used include solar panels and ground source heat pumps. The primary objective is to generate renewable energy and deliver services to National Grid.

Ashley Walters, Development Manager, Blueprint (the developer for the scheme, a private limited company owned by igloo Regeneration Fund and Nottingham City Council) said the project would serve as an example to the rest of the UK.

He said, "This is one of the first examples of a project of this scale on a residential development scheme. The larger the community, the more efficient the system will be. Creating a community-scale system helps to create resilience within the National Grid and helps the community to reduce their personal carbon footprint. The business model for this system is unlike any currently known in existence and, if successful, will be a model for development across the UK and further afield."