The road to net zero carbon is largely uncharted and will require a significant amount of collaboration, innovation and agility to meet UK Government, WMCA and local authority climate targets and to reduce emissions. The opportunities for technical and organisational innovation across low carbon heat, energy efficiency and smart energy infrastructure and power generation are vast. The 3 Cities have an extensive track record working with local industry and local knowledge partners to take R&D projects through the pipeline from design to delivery. We are welcoming expressions of interest from potential low carbon innovation and R&D investment partners to increase the pace and expand the scope of our ambition further.

There is significant opportunity for innovation in product and technology R&D

Innovation is a top priority for the 3 Cities in addressing the zero carbon challenges we face. Together, we can point to extensive examples of taking projects from innovation to design, build and launch to create breakthrough businesses and solve big problems.

To accelerate the pace, we are looking to collaborate with partners – supported by our local learning institutes and industry partners – to identify and test emerging products and technologies for market-readiness through our retrofit programme.

Our early work has identified opportunities for innovation across energy efficiency, heat decarbonisation and renewable energy generation. We are keen to learn quickly, share and leverage developing knowledge and insight to maximise our pilot activity and future mainstream roll out.

Examples of opportunities we are keen to explore with partners:

• Development of customised retrofit packages of replicable solutions at individual household, neighbourhood and city level, which can be fabricated offsite to reduce costs, improve quality and speed up mass rollout

• Local renewable heat and energy generation technology innovation in order to reduce product costs supported by appropriate local policy incentives

• Piloting innovative solution packaging and delivery systems which can deal with the complexity of coordinating action in multiple sectors to deliver the speed of transition required and build investible business cases


Data and Digital will form the backbone of successful market growth

The role of data, standards and digital tools is key to our journey to zero carbon. It will not only inform investment decisions and support a robust business case, but also provide the backbone to measuring success and the continuous improvement needed to address the known and unknown challenges ahead. This will require advancements in the scale and scope of the data captured, and how it is shared to inform the social, industrial and infrastructure models need to transform the way we work and live.

With the right partners we are looking to unlock this innovation opportunity using housing stock data and digital tools to bring together a coordinated set of energy efficiency technologies to deliver net zero in practice.

We are keen to attract investors and engage with technology start-ups to work with us on tackling some of the hardest and most critical challenges facing the energy transition, such as artificial intelligence for energy, developing digital twins, and modernising energy data. UK Government are focussed on supporting renewable energy innovation to bring the cost of technologies down.

A digitised energy system, taking advantage of advancements in digital technology (such as Smart Sensors, Industrial Internet of things (IIoT) and Big Data Analytics), will bring together energy generation, transmission, storage, distribution, trading and consumption to help deliver this shared vision. Join us.

We will share and leverage current knowledge and insight from local initiatives to maximise the potential for new innovators who come to our cities. Current initiatives include:

  • 5G Coverage, Connectivity, IoT Innovation: The cities already have one of the largest 5G footprints in the UK. Coventry are leading the UK in full fibre roll out at pace and Birmingham’s The Digital City Programme focusses on delivering Birmingham’s hyperconnectivity strategy.

  • Housing stock data survey: WMCA is developing a full updated reliable current data set of regional housing stock energy efficiency. This housing stock data will form the basis for detailed business case development and financial modelling of investment opportunities.

  • Zero Emission Electric Vehicles & Infrastructure: WMCA is finalising an Infrastructure for Zero Emission Vehicles (IZEV) strategy to ensure that it can provide sufficient and appropriate infrastructure to allow the cost effective and fair transition to zero emission transport options by 2041. Coventry is one of only two cities in the UK to receive government funding to introduce a whole electric bus fleet, and ambitions are to roll this programme out across the region to support zero carbon ambitions.

  • Catapult Energy Systems: An independent convener who supports the cities to design future energy systems by providing evidence and insight that shapes digitalisation policy, regulation, business strategy and best practice.



We are seeking partners to co-shape and co-develop the models required for at-scale retrofit delivery.


Join us on this exciting journey.