Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

Priorities for research and innovation in UK energy - incubation, funding, and commercialisation

Morning, Thursday, 5th March 2020

Central London

THIS EVENT IS CPD CERTIFIED



This seminar will assess priorities for accelerating continued research and innovation in UK energy.


Areas for discussion include:


  • the scope and effectiveness of long-term policy decisions;
  • fostering investor confidence; and
  • overcoming technical challenges for the adoption of innovation and its use in industry.

With the Government expected to publish its Energy White Paper later this year - which will set a roadmap UK energy policy up to 2050 - and the target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 recently legislated, it will be an opportunity for stakeholders to analyse what is needed to decarbonise energy and maximise the potential of innovation.


Examining both established and emerging technology, discussion is expected around:


  • The Energy Innovation Programme, and how the transition to low-carbon energy can be maintained and improved - including gains in energy efficiency, expanding renewable energy, and developing smart technology;
  • Advanced nuclear technologies - delivering policy objectives, such as continued cost reductions in small modular reactors and commercialising fusion technology;
  • Renewable energy, including improvements to manufacturing techniquies, flexibility, and whole-system integration; and
  • Natural gas, including its preparation for low-carbon targets, such as conversion to hydrogen and enhancing turbine and generator efficiency.

In the context of the UK International Research and Innovation Strategy - which sets out a roadmap for research partnerships and collaboration on technological development - further sessions will assess what industry needs to take advantage of in terms of business opportunities, such as investment, cost reductions, and market access.


We also expect the discussion to bring out current and new thinking on how investment and funding for energy projects and innovation can be leaveraged - following the ongoing inquiry by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee on whether frameworks are appropriate for attracting infrastructure investment, and set the right investment conditions.


We expect delegates to discuss:


  • The potential expansion of the Regulated Asset Base model, and what this could mean for long-term project finance and bringing technology to market;
  • Development of effective business cases for energy innovations - including reducing material costs, getting projects past the demonstration phase, and collaboration with private and public stakeholders; and
  • Fostering investor confidence - creating energy products that are exportable, incorporate leading-edge innovation, and address key energy challenges.

Further sessions look at how innovation and developments in energy technology can be accelerated at scale, and adopted across the sector, and what is needed from the research base to enhance UK potential - including steps for supporting low-carbon regional innovation clusters, such as the Industrial Clusters Mission.


It comes as the Prime Minister announces plans to fast-track visas and remove barriers for international researchers looking to work in the UK, across science, engineering, and technology.


We expect discussion around:


  • The role of universities, industry and Research Councils in supporting pre-commercial stage technology, and addressing regional imbalances in resources and research facilities;
  • Priorities for ensuring technology usability for industry in areas such as stable supply chains and compatibility with the whole-energy system, such as homes and transport; and
  • How skills, technical capabilities, and the workforce can be prepared for developing advanced energy technology.


Keynote Speaker

Matthew Billson

Head, Strategy - Energy Innovation Programme, BEIS

Chair

Lord Ravensdale

Speakers

Dr Kirsty Hewitson

Head, IP and Innovation, National Nuclear Laboratory

Filippo Gaddo

Associate Director, Energy Economics and Regulation, Arup

David Ryan

Chief Executive Officer, PowerHouse Energy Group

Matthew Knight

Head of Business Development, Siemens