Priorities > Energy

Decentralised energy networks focused on regeneration areas

The government is legally committed to meeting 15% of the UK’s energy demand from renewable sources by 2020. Rising fuel prices and issues surrounding energy security will also impact existing businesses and when attracting new companies. The West Midlands has limited opportunities for mass deployment of wind technology due to a lack of coastline and upland areas.

The region has high concentrations of energy users in urban areas and business parks which would benefit from decentralised energy networks (heating, cooling and electricity) to use and distribute local energy more efficiently. These networks could be powered by a range of lower carbon generation such as through gas, energy to waste, biomass, anaerobic digestion and solar. The best way of kick starting these networks is by building them into regeneration areas such as strategic investment sites e.g. hospital expansions.

Local authorities such as Birmingham City Council have demonstrated that setting up decentralised energy networks operated by locally co-run Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) can deliver significant carbon savings as well as economic benefits. For example the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham is part of this scheme and uses its green credentials to attract new customers.