‘Smart city’ bid for slice of £24m

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SHEFFIELD could scoop a share of £24m to help make it an ‘even greener city’ after winning cash to develop a bid for improving energy networks.

The city council shone past stiff competition to be awarded £50,000 from the UK Technology Strategy Board in a ‘smart city’ project.

That money will be spent on exploring how the city can improve the efficiency and coverage of district energy networks and using smart technologies.

A proposal to bid for up to £24m is then to be submitted to the Government by the end of this year.

Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for environment, recycling and streetscene, said: “This is great news for Sheffield and lays the ground for more action to improve our heat network.

“Over the next few months we will be working up a proposal to bid for a share of the £24m that is available.

“We are working with key partners in the city, including E.ON, Veolia and The University of Sheffield, to see how we can use new smart technologies to manage supply and demand, potentially expanding the existing and creating new heating networks across the city.

“This investment opens doors to new opportunities in innovation so we can move forward and make Sheffield an even greener city.”

So-called ‘smart cities’ aim to encourage an innovative approach to meeting challenges like climate and population change through systems working together, rather than individually.

Expert Joe Dignan, chief public sector analyst for Ovum, said it was ‘immensely exciting’ news for Sheffield.

He added: “Over 50 applications which met the scope were considered for the funding and 30 were given, rather than the 20 planned, because they were so good.

“The IT part of smart cities is about, instead of having separate systems, joining them up to work better and create economies of scale.”

Nottingham, Leeds, Derby and Bradford councils have also been successful in achieving the £50,000 funding to work on their bids.