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The ‘Energy Capital’ initiative, which brings together key partners from academia, industry and the public sector, aims to attract investment in smart energy technologies, research and infrastructure to deliver a wide range of economic benefits across the West Midlands Combined Authority region.
The objectives are to make the region the most attractive location in the UK to develop and grow modern smart, clean and distributed energy businesses; to support growth of our manufacturing base, deliver lower cost, cleaner power to citizens; and to maximise local economic benefits from national investments in the Energy Systems Catapult and Energy Research Accelerator.
Energy Capital operates through five facilitating workstreams:
1) Optimising local energy market regulation (creation of Energy Innovation Zones);
2) Marketing and promoting the region as a focus for clean energy investment;
3) Securing specialist finance and investment;
4) Supporting SME engagement and inclusion;
5) Identifying, mapping and promoting optimal investment opportunities.
With devolution and high level political support, this initiative has the opportunity to use an integrated, strategic approach to local energy investment – including the use of Energy Innovation Zones (EIZ) to test regulatory reform – to support delivery of economic prosperity for the population and further investment in the region. The EIZs will be large enough to provide a commercial market for innovative SMEs who need a platform for taking commercial products and services to the world; but small enough to secure the consent of local people and stakeholders for innovative energy systems.
Since the initiative has been launched only in 2017, no evaluations or case studies are avaiable yet.
There are no “Do’s and Don’ts” yet.