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Energy Capital

The hub for energy intelligence in the West Midlands

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Energy Capital

Who are we?

Energy Capital is the regional energy partnership for the West Midlands that brings the public and private sectors together to deliver place-based energy solutions.

Our partnership, with its executive team based within the Combined Authority, combines energy infrastructure providers, ambitious local authorities, world-leading academic expertise and innovation support, with leading energy entrepreneurs.

Energy Capital provides a single point of contact for government, regulators, funders, investors and partners across the West Midlands geography.

Our aim is to create an attractive environment for energy innovation to thrive in the West Midlands and position the region as a leader in the global transition to net zero.

We believe that the skills and expertise required to deliver an energy transition that is fair and affordable exist in the commercial sector.

Energy Capital seeks to strategically guide the sector to ensure that these skills are put to use in the best possible ways.

What do we do?

We apply innovation and collaborative delivery to solve the embedded challenges within the energy system.

As a unique partnership between the public and private sector, we’re able to enhance policy, governance, regulation and investment decisions, to create a smarter energy system that responds to the needs of our economy and communities.

Our approach, where ‘place’ is at the centre of the energy system, has positioned the West Midlands as a national pathfinder – demonstrating and leading pioneering energy system programmes that provide the evidence and learning that can be shared with government at all levels.

It also attracts a wide range of partners to work with us, including energy providers, ambitious local authorities and world-leading academic experts and energy entrepreneurs – creating a single point of contact for government agencies, funders and commercial investors.

We aim to make the West Midlands a fairer, greener and healthier place to live, work and do business – where our energy system is a genuine enabler to growth and prosperity.

The energy system affects our environment and every aspect of our daily lives. Yet influencing the decisions within that system can be extremely challenging.

Leaders are increasingly being asked to make high-risks decisions, facing conflicting priorities and interests that need to be resolved through legitimate governance mechanisms.

We approach this challenge from a whole-energy system and place-based perspective.

We’re working with regulators, policymakers and politicians to establish a system that recognises energy challenges at different geographic scales; ensuring the impacts of decisions are understood, and that the interests of citizens are fairly and appropriately represented in decision-making, without compromising national priorities.

Our research has shown that failure to recognise the role of place in energy market regulation, in the context of the net zero transition adds to the costs of consumers. We are working to ensure ‘place’ is properly considered in the energy system: from co-ordinating local area energy plans across the region and establishing zones that de-risk projects for investors; to supporting our local authorities to secure sustainable funding sources.

Energy Capital is seeking a greater voice for ‘place’ within energy system decision-making and a ‘smarter’ energy system overall - to drive greater efficiencies, enhance investment cases and create a market for innovation.

Andy Street At Cape Hill Estate In Smethwick March 2023

Policy

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Partnerships

WMG Walsall Accord 42

Delivery programmes

Key milestones

  • The Mayor secured government backing for innovation in energy systems to be included in the region’s second Devolution Dealin 2017, building on the region’s historic strengths, skills and assets in the energy sector. 
  • We published the Energy Capital Policy Commissionin 2018, chaired by Sir David King. This identified the best ways for the West Midlands to take advantage of the growing economic opportunities generated by the energy sector, including plans to trial new approaches to energy locally in pilot Energy Innovation Zones (EIZs) across the region. 
  • We worked with partners to establish five trial Energy Innovation Zonesacross the region.
  • The WMCA formally adopted the Regional Energy Strategyin January 2019 (following the approval and endorsement of the Black Country Consortium, Coventry & Warwickshire and Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEPs and the Strategic Economic Development Board).
  • We secured investment into three Prospering from the Energy Revolution Innovation projectsin the West Midlands and led the development and delivery of the Regional Energy Systems Operator Innovation project, looking at new models of regional and local energy governance.
  • We secured Innovation funding to develop a new regional approach to tackle fuel poverty and decarbonise homes across the West Midlands, which leveraged significant investment into innovate retrofit solutions and led to the establishment of the SMART Hub, focused on establishing a Sustainable Market for Affordable Retrofit Technologies across the region to support the region's local authorities to secure and deploy retrofit funding.
  • In 2021 we positioned as a Net Zero Pathfinderto work with Government to maximise the contribution of local areas to achieving net zero and championed the call for the partial devolution of responsibilities on energy and net zero.
  • In 2022, Energy Capital was name checked in the Levelling Up White Paper and began negotiations with Government on including energy and net zero in a Trailblazing Devolution Deal.