£3 million for smart energy investment in Midlands

Three new projects will help to place the West Midlands as a global leader in the field of low-carbon energy, following government funding.

Nearly £3 million of government money is being given to projects in Coventry, Rugeley and Sandwell, attracting match funding and interest from global investors. The projects will intelligently link energy supply, storage and use, and design ways to power heating and transport that will dramatically improve efficiency and reduce costs to local residents.

The three initiatives are an example of the WMCA’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2041 in a bid to achieve clean, inclusive growth.

In Coventry, the Regional Energy System Operator project (RESO) will help the city to decarbonise and keep energy costs down. Working with Coventry City Council, the project explores ways of generating and storing low-carbon energy on a city-wide scale, such as harnessing unused energy in electric vehicles, as well as integrating large scale, clean energy assets.

The West Midlands Combined Authority is also involved in a second project to bring smart energy to Rugeley and transform the site of the iconic former Rugeley Power Station into an area of low-carbon housing. More than 2,000 new homes and other eco-friendly buildings are planned for the site which is hoped to set the standard for similar projects across the UK to transition to zero carbon.

The third project is in Sandwell, which could be the home to a new smart energy grid which channels waste heat generated by industry to heat homes and businesses and integrates with a smart power grid, supporting modern transport such as electric vehicles.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “As the birthplace of the industrial revolution, the West Midlands has a moral responsibility to lead the fight against climate change. A key part of this is going to be our clean growth sector and how we support businesses within the sector to innovate and create the technologies needed to help our region become carbon neutral no later than 2041.

“I am delighted that the government has recognised the region’s potential to lead the UK in these state-of-the-art carbon neutral technologies, and I am sure these three projects will help make a real difference to the climate change agenda both here in the West Midlands and across the country.”