Achieving net zero in Coventry

The West Midlands Regional Energy System Operator (RESO) project looks to explore the advantages of a new kind of energy system operating at a city scale. The new system will include local low carbon energy generation, storage and management and will integrate future mobility assets such as electric vehicles into its overall envelope. 

The RESO project team is a group of leading-edge partners, led by Energy Capital part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), including Coventry City Council, University of Birmingham, University of Warwick, ENZEN Global Ltd, Electron Ltd, Camirus Ltd, Western Power Distribution (WPD), Cadent Gas, and Places in Common. The total project value is £2.62 million, of which £1.54 million is directly grant funded by Innovate UK. This forms part of a wider investment in the West Midlands to become global leaders in smart energy. For more information, visit the West Midlands Combined Authority website.

Video - RESO project - Accelerating net zero in Coventry

How does a smart local energy system work?

Traditional energy systems use large power stations and have a one-way energy flow. A local smart energy system moves away from this approach and takes advantage of the large detailed data flows supported by superfast digital networks. This allows thousands of small energy interactions between all the components to balance and optimise local energy flows.

A place based approach to local energy system design avoids the need for expensive infrastructure upgrades as the energy flows can be managed at a local level. The RESO project demonstrated that by developing a local energy system and market place, the new design could provide the city with a low carbon sustainable future allowing full empowerment of local stakeholders. The proposed design will help the area benefit from reduced energy prices as well as local jobs and future development investment which will contribute directly to the local economy.

The outputs

The modelling showed that a more localised smart energy system could generate a net present value of £720m for the region. This is derived from more local opportunities a market could bring which could help balance the grid, ensuring value is captured and distributed at a local level. This benefits citizens by helping to lower bills, create jobs, and generate local economic benefits. 

There are a number of key enablers such as local data, collaboration, regulatory change and governance that would unlock the opportunities that a RESO offers. Coventry City Council is now investigating how to apply the RESO insights strategically to support the transition and realise the benefits that RESO has suggested.

An insight report titled 'The RESO Effect: A Smarter Fairer Energy Future' from the Energy Systems Catapult  has been developed and can be found on the Energy Capital Website