Future Energy for Leeds

With SmartKlub Leeds up and running what exactly could the future of Energy supply in Leeds actually look like?

Our kick off session from April 22 included a detailed workshop using an adaptation of The Cognitive Edge, Future Backwards method.

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The outputs of this session are collated and presented here SmartKlub Introduction Event Notes – with Summary 24.05.15, and summarised as follows:

Five work­groups developed a common understanding of the “Current State” regarding the Energy System in Cities and Leeds in particular. They then mapped the time­slices that had led to the current state, the groups all detailed how “Heaven” & “Hell” in terms of the Energy System for Leeds would look like and linked them to past events ­ to allow this to happen.
Insert photos of workshop working, and outputs.

The future backwards is a method that we use because it enables us to include many viewpoints, deal with complexity and avoid entrained thinking whilst considering potential future scenarios and possible outcomes. It’s also quite fun!!

We get so much rich information that our charter is written with our stakeholders and all who attend, hopefully reach a good basic understanding of our objectives.

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Where we are now (Current State)

The work of the groups when considering the current state provided common thinking and themes with straplines of –

“Effective but not efficient”,
“Functional but not fit for purpose”
“Centralised Legacy System that is fragile, inflexible & unsustainable”

I’m sure we all recognise the thinking behind these!!

The common themes being – Inflexible, Disconnected, Constrained, Commercial Benefit not Social Benefit, High Cost–Low Efficiency, No framework, built for a different age, lack of local input or control, lack of data, resistant to change, centralised, fragile, fossils!!

A possible future (Heaven):

The output of the five Groups is provided in the review document, however this word-cloud does give us the flavour of the groups’ thinking, and what a possible future should consider.

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The pathway to our possible future, (Heaven):

The mind-map below provides an initial view of the emerging themes from the introductory event, and feedback received, we will use this to build the member charter for SmartKlub Leeds.

Possible Future for Energy in Leeds

Role of Stakeholders:

What is clear from the work in the introduction is that all parts of the supply-chain see a role for themselves in the development and creation of a city scale energy system.

This is evidenced by the breadth of the involvement across the supply chain – we have representatives of all sizes from micro, SME, large & corporate businesses – designers, consultants, contractors, technology suppliers, large industrials, finance, Energy Companies and all parts of the advisory landscape.

What we are missing are more representatives from the Third & Social Sector and also other Public & Civic Bodies in the City.
All participants saw the value in building a collaborative eco-system, it is referenced in each groups’ notes, – So we will use the direction of travel, set by the SmartKlub Leeds Charter, build upon our Principles: Save Carbon, Beat Fuel Poverty & Have a Sound Business Case, and use the group to create a member charter and objectives.

In order to manage this, a light touch and self-organising, steering and advisory group is proposed that will be drawn from the SmartKlub membership and eco-system. It will be focused upon projects and delivering against our principles.

The role of a City Energy Services Company (ESCo) was identified in each group as a potential institution that would allow the development of the City Scale energy system.


We have followed up the introductory SmartKlub Event with a specific co-creation event focused upon Tower–Blocks & the Housing Leeds Estate, (details to follow in a blog post next week). The outcomes of the co-production event will be published in June.

The outputs have already shaped the way Housing Leeds will be facing the opportunity of their assets and investment programme.

The SmartKlub Charter for SmartKLub Leeds will approved by the Leeds City Council Environment Programme Board on 2nd June, and then published. This will be used with the outputs from our co-production activity to create the SmartKlub Leeds membership charter and build our membership offer with all of you.

We have engaged with more members of the supply chain than previously completed under the Energy Forum, particularly in terms of micro & SME businesses. And have been able to engage with other prospective members and interested parties via the SmartKlub website.

SmartKlub have been working with Leeds CC to confirm its short-term future focus which will be;

• Transport & Mobility in June & July
• Data & Cities in conjunction with Leeds Data Mill in the Autumn and
• The South Bank Regeneration.

In terms of projects and innovation we have already had initial conversations with members of SmartKlub Leeds on how we can be innovative and bring new products and approaches around funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy generation for the citizens of Leeds.