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MLEI Oxford Total Retrofit (OTR)

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One of the biggest challenges for small and medium-sized local authorities is to prepare sustainable energy and retrofit projects which are big enough to be considered bankable by finance institutions.As the scale of community activity across the City and the County increases, it is becoming clear that there is potential for communities to aggregate projects. The OTR project will develop financial infrastructure for community-financed major energy and low carbon transport infrastructure development across the City of Oxford and County of Oxfordshire. The Low Carbon Hub will scale up renewable energy installations by supporting community groups to deliver their own projects and by leveraging investment into an aggregated pipeline of community-benefit projects. Following a rigorous investment and contract readiness process to develop the Low Carbon Hub's business plan and share offer quality, the Hub will attract investment potentiall including: underwriting, construction finance and start-up funding for community energy projects; community bonds to support domestic retrofitting.  

Results

  • To establish the OxFutures Fund, a special purpose vehicle for major energy and low carbon transport infrastructure development across the city of Oxford and county of Oxfordshire;
  • To implement the business plan of the Low Carbon Hub, a social enterprise aggregating the market and organising investment into the market for domestic energy retrofitting and community-scale energy projects across the city of Oxford and the county of Oxfordshire.
  • To enable investment in 2.9MW of renewable energy projects and 19,600MWh of energy demand reduction on the public estate across the City and County by October 2015 (13.6m euro investment);
  • To enable investment in 3.2MW of community-owned energy projects by October 2015 (12.6m euro investment);
  • To pilot a programme to enable investment  whole house domestic retrofits by aligning the Green Deal with the Feed-in Tariff and the Renewable Heat Incentive by October 2015.
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Lessons learned

  • The Low Carbon Hub's investment readiness process has improved its communications of social impacts benefits for investment and helped it attract investors.
  • However, it remains true that where are good quality projects, access to finance is not the major barrier.
  • The initial funding, along with the option to recover and recycle the support given to communities, has been essential in establishing a sustainable business model at scale.
  • An experienced and well-resouced team is needed to manage the relationships with key stakeholders and enable projects to reach the investment decision.
  • Flexibility is needed to allow for and minimise issues outsides of the projects control that may lead to delivery delays or abortive costs. For example tight grid capacity delaying delivery until a connection is available.
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Partners and coordinator

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Oxford City CouncilUnited Kingdom
Oxfordshire County CouncilUnited Kingdom
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Contact

Oxford City Council
United Kingdom
Contact point: 
Name: 
Mairi Brookes
Tel: 
+44 (0)1865 252212

Budget

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In brief

Duration:
29/11/2012 to 28/11/2015
Contract number: 
IEE-11-924

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