Coventry and Warwickshire is an example of a potential Energy Innovation Zone (EIZ) which could be used as an effective mechanism to ensure innovation and carbon reduction are effectively built into development plans, and these are properly scrutinized and integrated into local infrastructure.
Coventry and Warwickshire covers Whitley, Bagington and wide area around Coventry airport, incorporating land in both Coventry and Warwickshire. This area is well served by transport networks, and significant growth is planned through developments such the £250 million Coventry and Warwickshire Gateway scheme, and the £500 million development of Whitley South – a 60 acre engineering technology hub next to Jaguar Land Rover’s global headquarters.
There is little spare capacity in the local electricity network, yet demand is forecast to rise significantly over the next decade. Coventry Central and Coventry South are reaching the limits their circuits can supply, requiring major reinforcement works to raise capacity.
Other areas of planned expansion in Coventry and Warwickshire are Gaydon and Ansty. Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin have plants at Gaydon, which suffers grid constraints that would limit the growth plans of these and other companies. Ansty has shown considerable growth in recent years and has potential for large development in the future. Both sites need to ensure adequate power supply to enable future development.
Like UK Central Hub, these areas of economic growth and grid constraints need to develop timely and cost effective clean energy solutions, which an EIZ could facilitate.