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Working to bring green growth to the West Midlands

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Devolution of powers on energy

We've been working to demonstrate the important contribution local and combined authorities can make in securing green growth and net zero carbon ambitions; and identify where devolved powers could help to achieve this effectively. The WMCA, through Energy Capital, is trailblazing a partnership approach with central Government.

In 2023, the WMCA successfully negotiated a Deeper Devolution Deal as one of only two trailblazer regions in England. The following are sections in the agreement that specifically relate to energy:

“The government will pilot the devolution of net zero funding through allocation rather than competition in the period from 2025 onwards to WMCA, subject to confirmation of funding and policy design… This pilot will include, but is not necessarily limited to, funding for buildings’ retrofit. WMCA’s funding allocation will form part of its single department-style settlement.”

“The government welcomes continuing to work with WMCA to explore how local area energy plans and spatial planning could be meaningfully integrated, and to understand implications for planning policy and local planning authorities’ capacity and skills needs.”

“Ofgem welcomes WMCA’s interest in innovation zones and the trialling of novel approaches to inform investment planning.”

“The government recognises the strategic role WMCA can play in planning our future energy system for net zero, with its ability to convene local authorities, the strategic transport authority, energy infrastructure providers and other key stakeholders, and is committed to ensuring that devolved regional institutions such as combined authorities have a meaningful role in planning our future energy system for net zero.”

“Ofgem requires National Grid electricity distribution to engage with WMCA and other local stakeholders to inform its business plans. Where additional allowances are granted during the period, Ofgem expects National Grid electricity distribution to engage with WMCA and other local stakeholders to provide them with confidence that their proposed investment will meet local needs and enable the delivery of net zero and green growth objectives.”

“The government is keen to explore new approaches to facilitating the net zero transition in the (industrial) sector with the WMCA and will explore a range of potential funding options to pilot a new approach to transitioning businesses and clusters to a net zero energy system, subject to business planning.”

West Midlands Regional Energy Strategy

We're responsible for the delivery of the West Midlands Regional Energy Strategy and securing the powers and resources necessary to do so.

The RES was adopted by the WMCA in January 2019 following approval and endorsement by the three local enterprise partnerships (LEPs); the Black Country Consortium, Coventry & Warwickshire and Greater Birmingham & Solihull, and the Strategic Economic Development Board. The strategy consolidates a wide range of work carried out by the Regional Energy Policy Commission (Arup, AECOM, and the Black Country LEP) for the WMCA.

The strategy highlights how there are:

  • £500 million of commercially sensible innovative energy infrastructure projects within the pilot EIZs alone
  • Other investment opportunities will total more than £15 billion of investment (up to 2030) as a baseline scenario
  • A further £74 billion of investment will be needed for energy-dependent technologies such as cars (£32 billion) and buildings (£42 billion)

Following the 2023 Energy Capital Autumn conference, we will begin a process of refreshing the Regional Energy Strategy to reflect the changes in the region’s priorities in the five years since the first strategy was produced.

West Midlands Climate Change Strategy #WM2041

The regional climate change strategy sets out the West Midlands share of the national and global carbon budgets, with objectives on how we will deliver this. To do this the WMCA want to work with central Government to demonstrate the valuable role local areas play in decarbonisation and propose that we will take responsibility for delivering our regional carbon budget if given the devolved powers to do so. Until this time the WMCA have set a regional net zero carbon target date which we will support the delivery of.

In June 2019, the WMCA declared a climate emergency, and in July 2019 the Tyndall Centre produced a paper outlining the trajectory needed to reach net zero carbon by 2041:

  • Two interim carbon budgets of 36% reduction by 2022, and 69% reduction by 2027 were included in the report
  • It recognises that we need to meet year-on-year carbon emission reductions of 13% to meet this target
  • To achieve this there needs to be a focus on rapidly transitioning towards a zero-carbon future with a "front-loaded" approach

Following the production of this target a "green paper" was written to outline how the region must act to reach net zero by 2041:

  • 73 actions of varying scale, complexity and investment were outlined and approved by the Combined Authority Board on 17th January 2020
  • The following week (23rd January 2020) the green paper was formally launched and began a consultation period that ran until 12th March 2020
  • A result of the consultation was that the 5 year climate action plan was approved by the WMCA board (19th March 2021), securing the role of Energy Capital in supporting regional decarbonisation

Policy documents