Join in the energy debate at Talk Power

There just two weeks to go to Talk Power 2012, the must attend conference for energy buyers and managers hosted by EDF Energy. If you haven’t already booked your space, […]

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By Geoff Curran

There just two weeks to go to Talk Power 2012, the must attend conference for energy buyers and managers hosted by EDF Energy.

If you haven’t already booked your space, perhaps this will provide a little extra encouragement. It’s an interesting viewpoint on two ingredients necessary to meeting the UK’s energy challenges. And it’s from one of the eminent guest speakers at the conference.

David Clarke, Energy Technologies Institute CEO, says that collaboration and innovation are essential to addressing the UK’s energy and engineering challenges.

Energy is at the heart of our economy. The assured availability of affordable, sustainable energy is critical for delivering long-term development and growth. To achieve this, engineers and policy-makers are well aware that our energy system must be improved. Outdated infrastructure must be replaced and we have to think carefully about the balance of technologies that combine to best meet our overall demand.

As the cost of fuels and energy delivery continues to rise, the need for energy systems to be clean, secure and above all affordable for consumers, is more crucial than ever.  The far reaching changes needed to deliver the UK Government’s commitments to necessary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and 2050 presents a challenge that no individual or single company can address themselves.  In recent times there has perhaps never been such a strong need for us all to work better together to deliver effective energy solutions.

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is a public-private partnership focused on the acceleration of the development of affordable, clean and secure technologies that will help the UK meet its 2050 climate change targets. The ETI is one such partnership at the forefront of addressing these challenges.
The ETI is identifying key risk areas and opportunities for the UK and then investing in technologies, systems development and demonstrations which will accelerate introduction of new technologies essential for bringing down energy system costs across power, heat, transport and infrastructure. The organisation has commissioned £136m of projects, with more in the pipeline. Recent initiatives include a £40m heavy duty vehicle efficiency programme and a £100m smart systems and heat programme, with Hitachi announced as the ETI’s first programme associate.

Almost every project is delivered by a consortium and supply-chain made up of multi-national companies to small enterprises, universities, research organisations and consultants.  These teams operate at the cutting edge of science, technology and engineering delivering new systems, technologies, processes and  consumer understanding.

Taking a new technology from initial concept to market-ready product involves an iterative, non-linear process typically including laboratory research, prototyping, sub-scale demonstration, full scale demonstration, manufacturing scale-up and market rollout. But  successful innovation also requires the development of viable commercial businesses, creation of new markets and appropriate changes to the surrounding regulatory framework.

The ETI’s peer-reviewed in-house UK energy system model, the ETI’s Energy Systems Modelling Environment tool (ESME), highlights the technologies, supply-chains and cost implications of implementing engineering solutions to shift the UK towards meeting its 2050 climate change targets.

ESME creates a view on national energy system design options across power, heat, transport and infrastructure and demonstrates how these aspects, and the various technology options we could take within them, integrate together effectively.  It has currently identified the major issues for the UK power sector being in carbon capture and storage (CCS), bio energy, offshore renewables, energy efficiency and nuclear.  Each of these have risks which need to be understood and managed if they are to attract investors and industrial suppliers.

It’s an opportunity that will need new collaborations like the ETI to bring strategic planning, policy and technology development leaders together under one roof and new industry groupings of energy companies, information management groups and logistics managers implementing solutions such as wide-scale, low-cost district heating networks across our cities and homes fed by ‘waste’ heat from nearby power stations.

If you would like to see David at Talk Power, please click here to register.