Last updated on October 2nd, 2023 at 03:55 pm
In a groundbreaking move, Coventry City Council has joined hands with energy giant E.ON to embark on a transformative 15-year partnership. This collaboration is poised to revolutionise the city's approach to carbon reduction while simultaneously delivering financial benefits to residents and giving a significant boost to the local economy.
E.ON has been rooted in Coventry for nearly three decades, and is now set to become the city's new Strategic Energy Partner, marking a unique and unprecedented alliance in the UK. The partnership aims to build a cleaner, more sustainable city and foster a new green economy, promising job creation and skill development for future generations. This move presents an astonish contrast to the Coventry that was portrayed in videos by bands like the Specials AKA toward the end of the 70s. From grey and hopeless to a leader in green urban living – in the span of a single lifetime – is an impressive achievement.
Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration, and Climate Change at Coventry City Council, unveiled the partnership alongside Chris Norbury, Chief Executive of E.ON UK. O’Boyle expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “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.”
The collaboration intends to harness E.ON's expertise, knowledge, and skills, along with private sector financing, to swiftly implement a range of schemes benefiting the city.
Already leading major green projects, Coventry boasts the highest number of electric charging points outside of London, a cutting-edge materials recycling facility, and progress toward becoming the country’s first all-electric bus city.
Chris Norbury, Chief Executive of E.ON UK, highlighted the partnership's focus on tangible results in Coventry's response to the climate crisis. He said, “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.”
The partnership's strategic projects include the establishment of a 30MW solar farm, introducing solar power to schools, and decarbonising Council vehicles and depots. Plans also encompass solar energy for public buildings, enhanced electric vehicle charge point access, and improved energy efficiency for homes and businesses.
Patrick Lammers, Member of the Board of Management of E.ON SE, emphasised the company’s commitment to supporting Coventry’s efforts to decarbonise – leveraging their 33 billion euro investment programme across Europe.
Collaborating with a single partner over 15 years enables long-term planning and a cohesive strategic approach to decarbonisation and social projects across the city. The partnership is set to engage with stakeholders, including community groups, businesses, and industry leaders, to define outcomes aligned with the Council's Draft Climate Change Strategy and Net Zero Routemap.
Margot James, chair of the Coventry Climate Change Board, lauded the decision, stating, “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.”
With 80% of respondents in a recent consultation emphasising the importance of climate change, the partnership aligns with the UK Government's Net Zero target by 2050 and the West Midlands' goal to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2041. In 2022, Coventry spent around £620 million over a year on energy, underscoring the significance of this ambitious and unprecedented partnership.