Clean Growth Summit round-up
Posted on 19/10/2018
The Clean Growth Summit: Technologies of the Future, part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Green Great Britain Week, has taken place with speakers and panellists exploring many of the challenges climate change raises and how businesses can seize the opportunities that a necessary shift towards a low-carbon economy present.
The day kicked off with Sir David King, affiliate partner at SYSTEMIQ, former Chief Scientific Adviser and formerly the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change, looking at the recently published IPCC report. He described climate change as the most serious challenge humanity has ever had to face and stated that what we do over the next ten years will shape humanity for the next 10,000 years.
The following session, ‘How can the UK achieve a zero-carbon economy?’, saw panellists from the British Lung Foundation, NPL and Climate KIC join Sir David to examine what next after the IPCC report. It was agreed that innovation will be key to hitting targets and that net zero emissions will only be achieved by moving away from fossil fuels. The panel looked at where there are global examples of good practice – Rwanda on plastics and the Netherlands on integrated energy systems were cited but Sir David wished that some of the world’s big players like China could be held up as better examples. Audience participation was feisty: the issues facing us are immense and passions ran predictably high.
Further sessions on the plenary stage, all available on YouTube here, included ‘Shaping the future of energy’ which discussed having a better conversation with consumers and enabling them to have easier access to sustainable energy sources, how to help consumers use less energy safely, a need to focus on empowering consumers to embrace the green agenda, the importance of regions, how policy making has to start with the customer and how the UK is creating momentum but needs to do more; ‘Taking energy innovations to the next level’ covering diverse subjects such as fertilizer made from waste, blockchain in the energy sector, liquid air energy storage, collaboration between government and business, joining up policy and the existence of silos in the industrial economy; ‘The road to innovation’ heard from some of the successful companies in this space; and ‘Prospering from the energy revolution’ gave an insight into one of the clean growth challenges in the government’s industrial strategy.
Sam Giymah MP, Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation delivered a keynote on the long-term vision for the future of innovation and the UK’s economy. He launched several new initiatives and announced the winners of past competitions. He laid down a challenge for innovators stating that society now ‘needs more Edisons’. He then trailed a joint UK/Canada initiative, Power Forward, before introducing Janice Charette, Canadian High Commissioner to London who explained more about the Challenge. Over £11m will be jointly invested by both governments to find the best smart energy systems, including grids and storage, for the needs of the 21st century.
The event hosted a showcase of some of the UK’s leading cleantech innovations which included Wind Farm Analytics which is commercialising laser measurement systems for increasing the yield of wind farms, Chrysalix Technologies which turns unwanted wood into renewable chemicals and plastics and Electron, a company using blockchain to develop a shared digital infrastructure required to integrate thousands of energy devices into inclusive electricity and grid service markets. A full list of companies who exhibited is here.
The event also had presentations around the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF); clean growth is one of the government’s four grand challenges within its industrial strategy. A number of specific ISCF challenges come under the clean growth banner; these include ‘prospering from the energy revolution’, ‘transforming construction’ and ‘transforming food production’ and the challenge directors were on hand to outline the progress in each area.
The main plenary sessions for the event are available on KTN’s YouTube here.