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TINAs turn heads in the low carbon arena

Low carbon technologies have today been put under the spotlight with the publication of three in-depth reports into key areas of innovation.…

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Low carbon technologies have today been put under the spotlight with the publication 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 interests.

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 2050.

**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.

Notes TO Editors 

  1. The TINA summaries and further details on the LCICG and the TINA project can be found on the DECC website and on the websites of other LCICG members.
  2. The Government’s Low Carbon Innovation Coordination Group (LCICG) brings together the major public-sector backed funders of low carbon innovation in the UK to work together to coordinate their activities and to maximise the impact of government investment in innovation. Its core members include DECC, BIS, Carbon Trust, Energy Technologies Institute, Scottish Government; Scottish Enterprise; Technology Strategy Board, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.  Several other organisations, including the other Devolved Administrations, are represented as associate members. 
  3. The LCICG’s TINA Project is 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
Published 16 August 2012