Regional renewable target – who is in charge?

Over the last month or so there has been a debate over the region missing its renewable generation target. This was set out in 2004 in the West Midlands Energy Strategy as a target of 5% of regional electricity consumed  by 2010 to be generated by renewable. The reasons for this have ranged from councils being slow to approve the limited on-shore wind potential the region has, with a recent study putting the region 6th out of 9 region in terms of delays on approvals, to the feeling that the target has not been owned properly by the regional bodies, or updated to reflect new evidence and Government initiatives.

From Sustainability West Midlands perspective in our review of the region’s progress on its Economic Strategy, we highlighted the lack of progress on some of the energy actions of partners, especially the promise of a more strategic approach, such as a potential coordinating body for energy.

We recognise the energy agenda and sector is complex, and the regional response is more sophisticated around decentralised energy, combined heat and power, waste reduction,  transport management, and diversification into green jobs.

However at the end of the day if the region needs to set a target, could they be clear on how it will be delivered and who is in charge? Will we learn from this as we begin to set carbon targets at sub-regional and local authority areas?

Dr Simon Slater

Sustainability West Midlands

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