The West Midlands wants to drive deep cuts in energy consumption and costs, whilst also supporting the local economy, which currently provides less than 2% of its energy needs. It is creating a new market for locally generated heat and energy and energy reduction innovations, by establishing infrastructure and market mechanisms to stimulate local demand.
This Urban Transition is being delivered by Energy Capital, an innovation partnership between the West-Midland Combined Authority, local businesses and academia.
- 26% regional carbon emissions reductions by 2030
- 20-25% reductions in energy costs for strategic industries by 2023
- £1bn GVA added to economy from cleaner energy infrastructure by 2025
- Unemployment reduced through new renewables and low carbon jobs
- Improved air quality
The project takes a systemic approach to electricity, heat and transport. Rather than focus on individual technologies, it will create a dynamic regional market for carbon reduction innovations, matched to local demand.
Five Energy Innovation Zones (EIZs) have been setup across the region to define specific local opportunities and create markets for innovations.
The EIZs will map demands of local industry, new build and retrofitting housing projects, and local energy use, and nurture innovations which meet these demands. They will direct infrastructure investment to support new approaches, such as through developing a heating grid to support waste-to-heat innovations, and electric and hydrogen refuelling points to support energy storage innovations.
Each zone will help commercialise relevant technologies, by providing demonstrators, accelerators, training, and connections to potential customers. Local energy intensive businesses are actively involved and represent an enthusiastic customer base for low carbon entrepreneurs.
By responding to the needs of its vibrant manufacturing economy and diverse local markets, Energy Capital aims to make the West Midlands one of the world’s most attractive locations to build a clean energy company.
Featured Projects in the West Midlands
This project will inform the design of an Energy Capital regional innovation platform to advance and validate new business models in energy, thereby speeding the transition to sustainable energy systems.
Birmingham worked with Budapest, Bologna, Frankfurt, Valencia and Wroclaw to develop a model to help cities move towards a more sustainable, low carbon future and signal a clearer and more coordinated intent to the market for innovative products and services required to achieve it.
The project explored packaging energy-related projects into ‘bundles’ of investable propositions in the city, and began developing of a prospectus of energy-related projects to develop a pipeline of activity that has potential for external investment, aligned to city planning.
Munep2 developed innovative planning software that simulates the operational and logistical aspects of running a bus service, supporting planning for implementing electrification strategies. Potential users include municipal offices, urban developers, transport providers, transport operators, traffic managers and vehicle manufacturers.
This project explored how to combine findings from large-scale city research projects with real-world challenges around circularity in the private sector to identify potential enablers for change, working specifically with Engie.
This Pan-European Pathfinder Project investigated potential for electric vehicles to be used to tackle transport poverty and reduce emissions in outer city communities across four Climate KIC regions. It tested financial mechanisms, technical feasibility and community willingness to use electric car share vehicles, and developed business models.
Climate-KIC Programmes in The West Midlands
The Climate-KIC Accelerator is the only EU acceleration programme focused on climate impact by cleantech commercialisation. The 18-month program provides entrepreneurs with the knowledge, resources, tools and the coaching to succeed as a cleantech start-up.