Ahead of his presentation in the Energy pitching session at Cleantech Innovate 2019 tomorrow, Dr Mark Taylor, Deputy Director of Energy Innovation at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), sets out how the UK Government is supporting cleantech innovation.
The UK is a leader in clean growth and the government is committed to keeping it that way, making clean growth one of the Grand Challenges within our Industrial Strategy launched in 2017.
By prioritising clean growth, we have already ensured that the UK is a driving force in the low carbon transition: since 1990 we have reduced emissions by 42 per cent while growing our economy by more than two thirds. One stat that really struck home to me recently was that Easter weekend earlier this month saw the UK go coal-free for a record-breaking 90 hours – this is the longest time Britain has gone without coal since the industrial revolution!
We want low carbon to mean low cost. The government’s Clean Growth Strategy and the supporting Clean Growth Challenge set out how we aim to cut emissions through the 2020s across all sections of our economy while producing affordable and reliable energy. These are priorities for British businesses and the British people alike.
This is an extraordinary moment, not only for global efforts to reduce our CO2 output, but also for the growth of green industries, and for international climate collaboration. There is an ever-growing demand for low carbon technologies and Cleantech Innovate helps to bring together the cleantech community to combat climate change through innovation.
Innovation is driving down costs; the cost of energy efficient light bulbs is 80% cheaper than 2010, and offshore wind costs have fallen by 50% in the last two years. It is only through innovation – nurturing better products, processes and systems that we will see the cost of clean technologies come down.
When it comes to addressing climate change, this is time we do not have. We need to accelerate rapid decarbonisation by proactively supporting key players to move forward together. That is why our Clean Growth Strategy has innovation at its heart, offering over £2.5 billion of government investment into furthering low carbon technology from 2015 to 2021.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) £505 million Energy Innovation Programme forms part of that £2.5 billion and within it, there are many opportunities for major innovators in this field to help us drive this momentum. We have opportunities in Nuclear, Renewables, Industry, Built Environment and Smart Systems. Through programmes like the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund we are producing the low carbon technologies of tomorrow, whilst our Clean Growth Fund opens the door for collaboration with private investors to support the development and commercialisation of innovative clean technologies in the UK.
But it is not just about government initiatives. We all know that the progress of innovation depends on other key actors to play their part. Cleantech Innovate will make progress in implementing the innovations we need to decarbonise our economy. I’m keen to hear from the start-ups pitching in the Energy session I’m speaking in and to more of your ideas over the course of the event. I look forward to a thought-provoking day and agreeing priorities to progress together.