This section acts as a concise and informative introduction to "Sheffield's Green Commitment", a report formulated by "Sheffield Green Commission" with the goal of making Sheffield a more sustainable, interconnected city
The ‘Transformative Energy’ vision focuses on the city’s energy solutions, suggesting they be transformative, affordable, clean, efficient, low-emission, networked, renewable, resilient, simple, and locally owned.
The report recommends that all of Sheffield’s homes are made well-insulated and fuel-efficient, ensuring no household across any sector lives in fuel poverty. New-built homes should meet high energy-efficiency standards (e.g. via insulation) and should connect to green, locally-generated energy sources where available. The same standards should also go for Sheffield’s industrial and commercial properties.
Another recommendation is that Sheffield produces its own energy through renewable sources: solar, wind and biomass, and also hydrogen and heat recovered through waste. They estimate Sheffield biomass can provide power for 40,000 homes. These steps will increase energy security, and greatly lower CO² levels in the city. It also recommends local ownership of energy generation and distribution to be encouraged, so it becomes a valuable resource for the city.
They see Sheffield becoming a centre of cutting-edge research into disruptive new technologies for generation and storage of renewable energy. Additionally, they seek to invest in more ‘green-collar’ jobs in the energy sector at all levels, such as research, manufacture, installation, management, and retrofit.
The report recommends that Sheffield begins to support community energy schemes, developing a local energy company, based on the success of local authority schemes in other cities. Public investment is encouraged, in order to sustain employment, sustainability, and end fuel poverty, along with protecting long-term energy investments. The commissioners expect that climate change will affect both the heating and cooling requirements of homes in unexpected ways, and will greatly affect the supply and demand for affordable and clean energy. For this reason, they recommend an overall strategy of decentralisation for energy generation.
So far, Sheffield City Council and some third-sector organisations have made major investments to improve insulation and heating in homes across Sheffield, both privately-owned and in social housing. Sheffield Renewables, a community energy organisation, has undertaken a number of community-based solar energy projects. E.ON operates a 30MW biomass energy plant near Meadowhall, producing renewable energy for around 40,000 homes from recycled waste wood. Construction of another biomass plant is underway, after a £30 million investment from the British Green Investment Bank.