Coventry City Council and E.ON have agreed a strategic energy partnership which is set to transform the city’s approach to carbon reduction.
The 15-year partnership will see E.ON become the city’s new Strategic Energy Partner, forming an alliance that will build a cleaner and more sustainable city and drive a new green economy that will bring jobs and skills for generations to come.
The partnership is believed to be a first for the UK and will see the two organisations collaborate on revolutionising energy use in the city for the benefit of local communities and the wider economy.
The council and E.ON will work together to develop ideas and projects for the benefit of Coventry residents.
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council made the partnership announcement today, alongside Chris Norbury, Chief Executive of E.ON UK.
Cllr O’Boyle, said: “This is really exciting and completely innovative. No other city in the country is doing this. It will help Coventry move ahead with a range of projects that the Council would not have been able to achieve on its own.
“E.ON is based in Coventry and has been for almost 30 years, and it brings expertise, knowledge and skills. The partnership will also bring finance from the private sector so we will be able to quickly move forward on a range of schemes to benefit the city.
“We are already spearheading a number of major green projects, including the installation of hundreds of electric charging points – the highest number of any city outside of London. We have also developed a state-of-the art new materials recycling facility and we are well on the way to becoming the country’s first all-electric bus city.”
Chris Norbury, Chief Executive of E.ON UK, said: “The energy transition is a way to regenerate the local economy and we’re convinced we can make a difference in and with our home city.
“This is not about designing a new vision for the future, it’s about getting on and delivering Coventry’s response to the climate crisis – making improvements across the city that people want and need. That could mean better insulation for homes, more energy efficient public buildings, shifting from fossil fuels to locally-produced renewable energy and, perhaps most importantly, creating thousands of good jobs.”
E.ON Global Board Member Patrick Lammers commented on the announcement, adding: “Our 33 billion euro investment programme across Europe underpins our ambitions to play a leading role in shaping the energy transition in Europe. Coventry has been our UK home for decades and I am proud our colleagues around the country will be supporting the city’s efforts to decarbonise by delivering reliable energy infrastructure and sustainable customer solutions.
“We are already demonstrating what and how we deliver forward-looking energy concepts across Europe, in cities such as Berlin and Malmo, and proving how partnerships such as this are indispensable for climate protection, for more secure energy supplies and for the affordability of energy.”
The partnership is designed to make the best use of the skills and abilities of the two organisations and Coventry’s position as one of the country’s industrial and creative heartlands to transform the local economy and open up access to hundreds of millions of pounds of private sector investment.
Projects discussed for delivery by the partnership so far include the creation of a 30MW solar farm, bringing solar power into schools across the city and decarbonisation of a number of council vehicles and depots.
Work is also intended to include solar energy for public buildings, a push to electrify transport with greater electric vehicle charge point access for residents, and improving energy efficiency across homes and businesses.
Collaborating with a single partner over 15 years will help long-term planning and see a joined-up strategic approach to decarbonisation and social projects across the city. As well as getting on with the current list of projects, the partnership will be engaging with stakeholders across the city over the coming months, including community groups, businesses and industry leaders, to help define the outcomes the strategy needs to deliver.
The council’s Draft Climate Change Strategy and Net Zero Routemap, published earlier this year, set out an ambitious vision for the city’s journey to net zero to create a more sustainable and prosperous future for local people.
Margot James, chair of the Coventry Climate Change Board, former Executive Chair for WMG at the University of Warwick, and former minister for culture, communications and creative industries, added: “I’m absolutely delighted with this decision. I believe that the Council is really at the forefront of the drive to Carbon zero and there are very few cities that have embraced true partnership working in the way Coventry has.
“As chair of the city’s climate change board, and in my role at the University of Warwick I have worked with E.ON and have seen first-hand their commitment to the city. This new partnership will add value to a range of projects being developed in the city and will help to maximise government support – which will benefit communities, the local economy, and help in creating new jobs.”
Consultation for the Strategy saw 80% of respondents describe climate change as an important issue, saying they wanted the Council to take action – particularly around the issues of transport and home energy efficiency, which combined are the city’s two biggest sources of carbon emissions.
The UK Government has a target of net zero by 2050 and the West Midlands target is to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2041. Work on a Coventry Net Zero Routemap found that in 2022 around £620m was spent over a year on energy in the city.
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