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Shaping the MLEI financial model

July 15, 2013

Hi everyone – here’s a brief summary of the event last week. A more formal note from the event will be available in due course.  Slides etc. have been circulated but do get in touch if you’d like more info.  Thanks, Jane – Project Manager.

The MLEI breakfast meeting last Thursday gave local businesses an opportunity to shape the long term Vision for Cambridgeshire – identifying the framework of finance and delivery mechanisms that need to be in place to secure investment and delivery of energy projects. Keeping the lights on is a priority for businesses and residents but there is a real risk that if we don’t secure local energy supplies and reduce energy consumption,  growth will be constrained and black outs may occur. This will not be good for business so the workshop yesterday focused discussions on Verco’s proposed finance model.   Verco were recruited to support the MLEI project for their technical and finance skills to identify how an investment model could develop and work.

Our invited audience of investors, academics, business leaders and energy experts responded positively with their ideas and MLEI project partners now have lots of constructive inputs on how to improve the finance model.  In a nutshell, the model proposed by Verco identifies the need for a Cambridgeshire Low Carbon Development Unit with the role of brokering relationships between projects, investment and delivery mechanisms.  The Unit would draw on the most appropriate public and private sector funds and bundle projects to achieve the scale that attracts finance at a better rate.

Central to the discussion was the need to extend the current vision (low carbon infrastructure that profits Cambridgeshire) to include greater acknowledgement of the affordability of energy for businesses and communities and the benefits that this work can bring forward.  Also coming out of discussion the point that transparency must form a key principle to this work and more explicit reference to energy security, low carbon economy and carbon reduction objectives.

There was interesting debate on relationships between the public and private sectors and what this might mean in terms of bringing together different finance streams, pay back on debt and whether the framework proposed was a ‘push and pull’ framework. There was consensus that more projects need to be brought forward and the MLEI project explained that it was currently working on bringing forward public sector projects across Cambridgeshire looking at schools, offices and land estate.

Project partners will now consider this feedback and refresh the finance model.  We hope those who took part on Thursday will join us on other occasions as the MLEI project, and the financial and delivery models potentially coming out of it, develop.

We would like to thank everyone who participated, and a special thanks to Cambridge Network for assisting with the organisation of the event.

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