Low Carbon Innovation
As part of its ongoing reports on the Government’s energy and climate change policy
the Parliamentary Information Office has been monitoring the achievements of the
Government’s Low Carbon Innovation Coordination Group
Low carbon technologies have been put under the spotlight with the publication last week of
three in-depth reports into key areas of innovation.
This new analysis, the Technology Innovation Needs Assessments (TINAs), delves into
marine energy, electricity networks and storage, and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).
The TINAs examine the potential for innovation in these technologies and assess the
economic benefits to the UK. This work will also help inform the prioritisation of public and
private sector investment to ensure these technologies reach their full potential.
The work has been undertaken by the Low Carbon Innovation Coordination Group (LCICG),
which is made up of a range of different bodies including the Department of Energy and
Climate Change (DECC), the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the
Carbon Trust, the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), the Technology Strategy Board
(TSB), the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, the Engineering and Physical Sciences
Research Council (EPSRC), and other organisations with significant low carbon innovation
The LCICG’s TINA Project is a collaborative effort involving all members of the LCICG group
and aims to identify and value the key innovation needs of specific low carbon technologies,
in order to inform the prioritisation of public sector investment in low carbon innovation.
The TINA analytical framework was developed and implemented by the Carbon Trust with
contributions from all core LCICG members as well as input from numerous other expert
individuals and organisations.
Each TINA analyses the potential role of the technology in the UK’s energy system;
estimates the value to the UK from cutting the costs of the technology through innovation;
estimates the value to the UK of the green growth opportunity from exports; assesses the
case for UK public sector intervention in innovation; and identifies the potential innovation
priorities to deliver the greatest benefit to the UK.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said:
“Innovation is key to the growth of the low carbon economy here in the UK. This new
analysis will help us better understand the value of these technologies to our growing green
economy as well as the barriers to commercialisation, helping us put our available
investment in the right place to spur on further innovation.”
Key findings of the Technology Innovation Needs Assessments (TINAs):
CCS: Innovation across the CCS technology chain could reduce UK energy system
costs by £10-45bn to 2050, and innovation to ensure the security of long-term CO2
storage remains particularly critical to CCS viability. The key technological components
of carbon capture, transport and injection have been demonstrated at commercial scale,
however, component costs and efficiency penalties remain high and uncertain, and many
challenges related to full integration remain to be tackled. Innovation could also help
create a UK industry with the potential to contribute further economic value of £3-16bn to
Electricity networks and storage (EN&S): Advanced EN&S technologies have the
potential to address new stresses that are likely to be placed on the electricity system,
and to do so more cost-effectively than would be possible through traditional methods of
grid reinforcement and fossil-fuel-powered system balancing capacity. EN&S
technologies could play an important role in the future energy system, supporting the
uptake of renewable electricity generation, renewable heat, electric vehicles (EVs), and
other low carbon technologies. Innovation in EN&S technologies could save the UK £4-
19bn to 2050 and could help create UK-based business opportunities that could
contribute an estimated £6-34bn to GDP to 2050.
Marine energy: The UK has a large natural resource of marine energy that could make
a meaningful contribution to the UK energy mix from around 2025. Cost of energy
generated will need to reach around £100/MWh by 2025 for marine energy to be
competitive with other technologies. This pathway is ambitious but possible with
significant innovation. If successful, innovation in Marine energy could save the energy
system approximately £3 - 8bn and help create a UK industry that could contribute an
estimated £1-4bn to GDP up to 2050.
The TINA findings will be used to underpin the design and focus of DECC’s and other
LCICG’s members’ programmes and activities in these technology areas.
The first TINA on offshore wind was published in February 2012. TINAs for other technology
areas including Bioenergy, Industrial Energy Efficiency, Heat, Domestic Buildings, Nuclear
Fission and Hydrogen are expected to be published over the next few months.
The Parliamentary Information Office will continue to report on progress as we go through
the months ahead.
21st August 2012