THE West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is introducing several initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions and slashing ever increasing energy bills.
The region had already been experiencing high levels of fuel poverty before Covid and the Ukraine crisis, and with energy prices expected to continue to rise for households in the months ahead the WMCA’s Energy Capital team has been focusing on securing government funding for new initiatives that could help lessen the impact.
The team’s newly created SMART Hub is taking forward initiatives that include reducing costs through energy efficiency measures, as well as ideas such as super-efficient insulation and solar panels for old and cold homes.
With the region’s businesses also facing fuel price volatility, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, Andy Street, is to host roundtable talks with industry leaders to identify new and smarter ways to generate and store energy locally and improve energy security.
A report by Energy Capital on a ground-breaking project to develop smarter regional energy systems (RESO) demonstrates that by focusing action at a city-wide scale – in this case Coventry – and by managing demand and supply more smartly, energy systems can become more efficient, helping to tackle fuel poverty, and bring real financial benefits for households and local authorities.
The report’s key findings also showed that £720m of value savings could be achieved over a 30-year period, at today’s prices.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council and WMCA portfolio lead for environment, energy and HS2, said “We’re acutely aware of the impact that the energy crisis will have on residents across the West Midlands in the coming months and years.
“To try to help keep people’s energy bills down, both now and in the future, we are investing in innovative sources of low-carbon energy production and retrofitting homes to make them warm and energy efficient.
“We’re making sure the principles of futureproofing and self-sufficiency are embedded throughout these projects, so we build a practical and sustainable green future.”