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How Can We Build a Net Zero Sheffield?

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A crucial part of the solution to the climate crisis is the shift away from fossil fuels to renewables.

Solar and wind power have been big technological success stories over the past decade, now producing energy more cheaply than ever before. We need big changes at national scale, but local energy production also has to be part of the solution.

Sheffield is currently lagging behind many other cities in upscaling local energy production. We ask our expert panel to explain how Sheffield is planning for a net zero future. How can we accelerate and scale up local production? What can be learnt from other successful projects in South Yorkshire and elsewhere? How can we create a deliverable vision to build a net zero Sheffield?

Hosted by Emma Bridge.


Emma is Community Energy England's Chief Executive, having been instrumental in developing the organisation since its creation by a group of community energy practitioners in 2014.

Community Energy England (CEE) provides a voice for the community energy sector representing over 270 organisations committed to putting people at the heart of the energy system.
Emma also sits on a number of regional, national and european advisory groups related to energy, climate change and community action. These roles include chairing the UK COP26 civil society roundtable and sitting on the Yorkshire & Humber Climate Commission. Prior to CEE, Emma worked on sustainable development across the public, private and community sectors.


Kate Josephs joined Sheffield City Council as Chief Executive in January 2021, having spent 20 years in national-government in the UK and United States. She joins Sheffield from a 6 month tour of duty as Director General in the Cabinet Office’s COVID 19 Taskforce.

Kate’s career as a senior leader in the UK civil service has included positions in HM Treasury; the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit; and from 2016-2020 in the Department for Education (DfE). In DfE Kate held roles with responsibility for national strategy, operations and oversight across the Academies Programme; and from 2019 was responsible for the creation of a new centre of excellence for schools, academies and post 16 funding, with oversight of £63billion in annual funding.

Prior to joining the DfE, Kate spent 2.5 years in Washington D.C. working for the US Federal Government during the Obama Administration, including as Executive Director of the White House Performance Improvement Council, working across US Government Agencies – on priorities from veterans’ affairs to STEM education – with a mission to advance and expand the practice of performance analytics and improvement.

Kate grew up in Doncaster and lives in Sheffield with her husband and two children.


Luke Wilson is a Director and volunteer for Sheffield Renewables, a community energy organisation who fund, develop, own and operate renewable energy projects across Sheffield.

Sheffield Renewables is all about taking practical local action to help tackle climate change in a way which benefits people and places.


David is the Group Leader for Sustainability and Climate Change at Barnsley Council and is a Trustee Board Member of Energise Barnsley-the UK largest Community Owned and Local Authority rooftop Solar scheme in the UK.

He has worked in and around Sustainability and Housing in the public, private and third sectors and a very long time ago was a banker.

Afsheen is the co-founder CEO of Repowering and chair of Community Energy England. Prior to founding Repowering she was a senior policy advisor at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

She is a community energy specialist with more than 15 years experience working in the sector at local and national levels, including spearheading Lambeth council’s community energy programme. She has a MA in Geography and MEnv in Environment, Science and Society as well as an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Essex.

In 2016 Afsheen was awarded an MBE for her work delivering renewable energy to deprived London communities and, in 2018, she won the Regen Clean Energy Pioneer award.

Part of our 2021 festival strand

Acting on Climate Change

Strand sponsors

South Yorkshire Climate Alliance

We want to see a thriving, successful climate movement in South Yorkshire, shaping a region where companies, public bodies and individuals urgently make change.

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