News story

UK joins new international clean energy initiative

Today in Paris, Prime Minister David Cameron joined world leaders to launch Mission Innovation at the UN Climate Change Conference.

Mission Innovation is a flagship international initiative which aims to accelerate clean energy investment and innovation in order to provide reliable and affordable energy for all.

The Prime Minister attended the launch event alongside Presidents Obama and Hollande, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, ministers and 16 other heads of government as well as Bill Gates.

Commenting on Mission Innovation, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd said:

It’s clear we need to take urgent action to tackle climate change and move to a low carbon future to ensure our long-term economic security, that’s why I want a global deal in Paris which will help to create a level playing field for businesses and drive innovation.

Investing more in R&D by both governments and the private sector is critical to ensure we harness and support the creativity, ingenuity and entrepreneurship of our universities and businesses in tackling the challenge of making clean affordable energy widely available.

Mission Innovation will help to identify where research, investment and development funding is most needed to bring down the cost of clean energy so that it offers good value for money to hardworking families and businesses at home and abroad. As part of our efforts to tackle climate change, supporting further innovation is vital to promoting economic growth and strengthening our energy security. This is also a significant step that will facilitate our transition into a global low carbon economy.

The costs of low carbon technology have fallen significantly in recent years – the costs of solar alone are down 80% since 2008 - but more must be done to drive the costs down further to enable countries to raise their mitigation ambition in the future.

Under Mission Innovation, 20 countries will undertake to double their state-directed spending on clean energy research and development over the next five years. As part of our commitment to the goals of Mission Innovation; the UK has set out plans to double our central government spending on clean energy technology research, development and demonstration programmes that support Mission Innovation’s objectives.

Participating countries will work together to increase collaboration on transformational projects.

In addition, a group of 29 venture capitalists led by Bill Gates have also pledged to invest substantial amounts in potentially transformational early stage technologies.

UK programmes will include support for a range of research and development projects from early stage, disruptive ideas through to partnerships with private sector investors to test and prove new technologies in real world applications as an enabler of widespread deployment. We expect that our programmes will accelerate technology development that will have benefits for developed and developing countries alike. As part of that, around £100m of our total spend in 2020 will be particularly focused on projects that will help address the energy needs of developing countries and promote low carbon development.


Notes to Editors

  • More information on Mission Innovation, including a statement from each participating country is available here.
  • The announcement made by the White House is available here.
  • In 2020/21 we expect to invest in excess of £400m (c.US$600m) in relevant projects. These plans build on last week’s UK Spending Review announcement of a doubling of funding for the UK’s domestic energy innovation programme. This investment will also be enhanced by other regional investments as well as by funding for research in related areas that could also support our clean energy objectives.
  • With this increased funding, alongside the 50% increase in UK climate finance (to £5.8bn over 5 years) announced by our Prime Minister in September 2015, we are showing our strongest possible commitment to COP21. Investing in low carbon energy now will drive down the costs of action and ensure countries can take more ambitious action to cut their emissions before 2030 and grow their economies sustainably in the long term.