Coventry City Council's Story
Having the right stakeholders and partners invested in achieving a smart local energy system is paramount to unlocking exponential benefits that are driven by the value of flexibility in a local system.
Our project design focuses on three core areas of institution design, technical design and market design and has led us to our conclusions about who we need to collaborate with to enable the solutions of our Smart Local Energy Systems (SLES).
The collaboration between a public body such as a local authority ensures unbiased decision-making for the City and can benefit from the unique alignment of other local place-based responsibilities such as transport, spatial planning and waste.
Combining this insight with the expertise of distribution network operators; if resourced effectively, could offer a more holistic view of whole systems infrastructure, which informs investment into our energy infrastructure according to the needs of the city and local assets and resources.
The aim is that the creation of a new body will support the coordination of all the energy vectors at a local level to achieve our goal. Thus significantly reducing the cost of achieving net zero for the consumers and ensuring that no one is left behind.
We fully believe that the value of a smart local energy system and the more holistic view of energy planning will drive the development of business models and investments, unlock the value of the co-benefits and support our local interests for our people. In order to drive the value that local flexibility markets can bring we need the necessary regulatory changes to fully integrate this in order to accelerate and achieve net zero.
The last but probably one of the most critical points to the project is the potential for investment of SLES. We have to find a way to de risk the market in order to bring forward investment ahead of need. Not only in our infrastructure, but investment in to skills and capability to enable these new technologies to be implemented and nurtured, and only then can we fully realise our net zero goals.
Useful Learnings from Coventry City Council
We couldn't have started the project without funding from the 'Prospering From an Energy Revolution (PFER) Programme. Collaborative working makes a huge amount of difference and the right skill capabilities and motivation drive a successful project team.
We have everything from the (regional and local) government to place-based, academic, private and industry leads.
It's a really wide range of skills and knowledge that provide a wealth of insight into the project and it couldn't have happened without the sharing agreements in place which have enabled an unprecedented amount of data to be accessed.
I'd recommend working collaboratively and encouraging challenge. It may mean difficult conversations but it is great to think wider than just your areas and may just present new opportunities.
Look at the time scales to see what really is deliverable and where the dependencies are in a project. Keep revisiting your objective and make sure you are staying on track of the project. Understand what your funders want, and how to move to the next stage. Build in contingency. It's difficult to know what may crop up so overestimate your timings and budget as things always take a bit longer or cost more than anticipated. Build in dissemination to the project - understand the key messages and learnings from the project and share them with the world.
Coventry City Council's Metrics