Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Next steps for innovation and research in the UK energy sector

Morning, Friday, 8th October 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference is focusing on priorities and next steps for developing UK energy research and innovation.

The conference will be an opportunity to examine the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, which aims to decrease the cost of decarbonisation through the funding and commercialisation of low-carbon technologies between 2021 and 2025, with the Energy Innovation Programme coming to an end this year.

It also takes place in the context of the Government’s Energy White Paper, which sets out priorities and objectives for developing the energy system up to 2050, with a holistic approach to sustainable energy practices - as well as the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

We are pleased to welcome a keynote session with Matthew Billson, Deputy Director, Energy Innovation - Strategy and Portfolio and Co-Lead, £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio and Advanced Nuclear Fund, BEIS; along with further keynote contributions from Philip New, Chief Executive Officer, Energy Systems Catapult; and Iliana Portugues, Head of Innovation, Electricity Transmission, National Grid. Chairing is Lord Ravensdale, Officer, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Energy Studies.

The agenda will bring out latest thinking on:

  • priorities for supporting innovation in energy technology
  • extending national leadership in technology commercialisation
  • developing research partnerships and cross-sector collaboration for supporting technological development
  • the acceleration of decarbonisation and low-carbon solutions
  • delivering regional growth in the sector

The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from BEIS and the Department for the Economy, NI.

The agenda:

  • Policy priorities for supporting innovation in energy technology
  • Key issues for workforce development, and ensuring the UK has the skills to compete on the international stage
  • Developing research partnerships, encouraging cross sector collaboration, and supporting the development of innovative energy technologies, systems and products
  • Examining the scope and potential of innovation across the UK energy sector, and opportunities for enabling a nation-wide ‘green industrial revolution’
  • Priorities for decarbonising energy network infrastructure, and preparing national capacity for decentralised energy assets
  • Driving regional growth and a green economic recovery – nurturing industrial and research hubs, capitalising on regional skills and expertise, and supporting commercialisation
  • Promoting innovation across key sectors - investment, skills, supporting the application of research, and driving progress in meeting UK net-zero targets

The background:

  • the Energy White Paper - outlining the Government’s priorities and objectives for developing the energy system up to 2050:
    • with a holistic approach to long-term decarbonisation, technology development, and ensuring energy capacity is reliable and affordable
    • setting further guidance on commercialising technologies, as well as leveraging R&D funding across energy types
  • the Energy Innovation Programme - a £505m funding scheme from BEIS, coming to an end in 2021, which has supported technological development across the energy sector, including in the areas of:
    • zero-carbon generation
    • smart energy systems
    • the built environment
    • energy-intensive industries
  • the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio - the £1bn fund is the successor to the Energy Innovation Programme, and aims to decrease the cost of decarbonisation through the funding and commercialisation of low-carbon technologies between 2021 and 2025
  • the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution - the Government’s outline across 10 areas of the energy-intensive economy for distributing £12bn in initial investment, and for stimulating research and development across energy industries, technologies and finance
  • the National Infrastructure Strategy - outlining the Government’s long-term priorities for infrastructure development across the UK up to 2050, setting guidance and principles for:
    • unlocking nation-wide economic growth and recovery
    • faster project approval and completion
    • aligning net-zero infrastructure priorities with key parts of the energy system, including generation, power networks, and industry
  • the UK Research and Development Roadmap - identifying policy priorities for long-term R&D strategy development:
    • with recommendations for investing the £22bn per year which has been earmarked for R&D spending by 2024-25
    • including a specific focus for the energy sector on emerging technologies in nuclear, renewable energy, and non-generation assets such as battery storage
  • the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund - the £315m project, to be fully delivered by 2024, aiming to provide funding for industrial decarbonisation, including through energy efficiency equipment, hydrogen, and commercialising low-carbon technologies and infrastructure
    • Phase Two of the fund is expected to start later this year

Key areas for discussion:

Policy priorities and delivering long-term objectives - for energy technology development and commercialisation:

  • overcoming barriers to technology development:
    • assessing current and future needs for energy technology development
    • how policymakers can be best placed to overcome these barriers, including by setting pathways for accelerating cost reduction
    • ensuring interoperability is at the centre of energy technology
    • identifying innovation needs for hard to decarbonise assets
  • funding and investment:
    • options for leveraging capital
    • priorities for tailoring funding to viable and market-ready projects
    • how best to stimulate and match public investment with private capital
  • aligning R&D development with net-zero objectives - examining what is needed for:
    • scaling up the commercialisation of affordable, efficient and distributed renewable energy technologies
    • preparing whole-system assets for net-zero
    • the deployment of industry solutions such as carbon capture
  • extending UK leadership in energy technology development:
    • priorities for boosting domestic industry capacity
    • next steps for encouraging private engagement
    • how best to deliver a whole-nation green economic recovery

Preparing whole-energy systems for net-zero priorities - innovation across the sector, developing infrastructure ready for large-scale decarbonisation:

  • a flexible electricity network - tackling challenges, and how best to accelerate cross-sector collaboration to achieve this, including:
    • system designs for balancing dispatchable and non-dispatchable generation
    • sharing technological solutions across energy types
    • leveraging smart and digital innovations for system management
  • energy asset-specific challenges to innovation:
    • options for reducing nuclear build costs
    • addressing renewable intermittency issues with non-generation pairing
    • priorities for commercialising new technology for small and large-scale heat systems
  • opportunities for innovation for industry and commercial use:
    • examining the scope for smart data integration across energy systems
    • options for further commercialising storage assets and technology
    • looking at what is needed for enabling net-zero progression

Developing regional growth in the sector:

  • scaling regional capabilities in a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’:
    • considering what is needed from policy and industry action for:
      • boosting domestic manufacturing hubs
      • establishing regional leadership in emerging energy technologies
    • best practice for designing strategies on a local level
  • the role of universities, industry and research hubs:
    • evaluating how they can best support the development of technology at the pre-commercial stage
    • addressing regional imbalances in resources and research facilities
  • regional opportunities for skills and jobs growth - priorities for harnessing the opportunities presented for:
    • innovation
    • developing a workforce fit for new markets
    • expanding supply chains
    • supporting local economies

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from BEIS and the Department for the Economy, NI.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy,  as well as from BEIS, Defra, DfT and other relevant departments, transport and environment professionals, representatives of transport organisations, academics, local government, charities and passenger groups, together with reporters from the national and trade media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Matthew Billson

Deputy Director, Energy Innovation - Strategy and Portfolio and Co-Lead, £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio and Advanced Nuclear Fund, BEIS

Philip New

Chief Executive Officer, Energy Systems Catapult

Iliana Portugues

Head of Innovation, Electricity Transmission, National Grid


Lord Ravensdale

Officer, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Energy Studies


Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson

Managing Director, Nuclear Development, Sizewell C

Graham Oakes

Independent Consultant, Formerly Founder, Upside Energy

Dr Fiona Rayment

Chief Science and Technology Officer, National Nuclear Laboratory

Dr Biljana Stojkovska

Innovation Manager, National Grid ESO

Dr Nina Skorupska

Chief Executive, The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology