Within weeks of its exciting launch, Energy Capital is not only impacting on stakeholders within the West Midlands, it is resonating with national policy makers too. As a result, its Chair, Matthew Rhodes, and Dr Simon Slater, Director of Policy and Partnership for Sustainability West Midlands, have been invited to join the UK’s Industrial Strategy Delegation to Japan, on a mission focussing on future energy systems.

The delegation’s objectives are to establish contacts between the two countries’ experts, position the UK as Japan’s European partner of choice in the energy sector, and identify new opportunities to engage with the Japanese energy industry. This will be done by articulating UK regional energy strategy; highlighting the capabilities of UK companies; discussing changes in the energy system and the resulting challenges; and reflecting on the issues surrounding new technology, research and innovation.

The delegation is set to arrive in Tokyo on 6th March, 2017, where they will spend two days exchanging ideas and attending a variety of presentations. The topics for discussion include energy situation and policy; market reform; energy efficiency, renewables and storage; climate change and innovation; and multilateral issues.

The second stage of the visit commences on 9th March, with a visit to Japan’s third largest island, Kyushu. Its University’s Centre of Excellence for Hydrogen Energy is one of Japan’s finest examples of how academia, industry, government and the community can work together in partnership to drive local growth; mirroring Energy Capital’s own primary objective.

The relationship between the UK and Japan has long been an important one. Not only are the Japanese the fourth largest direct investors in this country, our nations also share a proud record of collaboration between some of the world’s finest innovators, which has led to exciting technological developments across a variety of industries.

We will provide a full report of the delegation’s visit upon their return.


Matthew Rhodes is Chair of Energy Capital, a board member of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, and Managing Director of Encraft, who are an independent engineering consultancy based in Leamington Spa.

Dr Simon Slater is the Director of Policy and Partnership for Sustainability West Midlands, who are a not-for-profit company working within the business, public and voluntary sectors. They are the sustainability champions and advisor to the West Midlands local authorities.