Parliamentarians look to the future: Energy Innovation Exhibition
On 5th March, the Sustainable Energy Association (SEA) and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Renewable and Sustainable Energy (PRASEG) hosted an event in Portcullis House to raise awareness amongst parliamentarians of innovative, energy efficient and low carbon technologies.
We were delighted to welcome Minister Claire Perry MP, Shadow Minister Alan Whitehead MP and Liberal Democrat Leader, Vince Cable as well as many Parliamentarians and Peers to the Exhibitionround 20 innovative organisations showcased their products and services. These ranged from renewable heating systems and energy saving measures to low carbon fuels and environmentally friendly building products. Minister Claire Perry said it was “great to see so many interesting exhibits … This is the solution to the carbon and cost issues that we face”. Alan Whitehead applauded the exhibition, highlighting that it just showed what we can do to get towards decarbonisation.
The Minister emphasised during her address that “in some cases we know what the solutions are, we know how to build new build properties that make them more efficient to heat. In other cases, when we’ve got our ambitions to get homes off the gas grid in particular off fossil fuel, we don’t yet know what some of the most affordable technologies are.” It is in these instances that innovation is particularly important. She explained that BEIS is heavily investing in research and development because innovations such as the ones on display are key to tackling the climate change challenges we face.
The Minister highlighted both the challenges and the opportunities, “there are two countries in the world that are considered to be doing enough to meet a 2oC target. Those two countries are China and the UK. Already we are in an absolute leadership position in the world’s economy in decarbonising our own activities. [But] there is so much more to do, and we know the challenges that are out there.” She stressed that there is strong cross-party commitment to meeting our climate change targets but that there is still lots more to do.
Shadow Minister, Alan Whitehead MP, echoed the Minister’s comments stating that “we have made enormous progress on our path to decarbonisation in the UK… But we also ought to acknowledge just how much remains to be done.” He emphasised that “we’ve actually gone beyond the tipping point certainly with power generation as far as the battle between old energy and new energy is concerned. The paradigm for the future is going to be new energy, renewable energy being the backbone of our energy system.” However, in regard to heat decarbonisation Dr Whitehead noted that “there is not a magic silver bullet” and as such “what we are going to need is every single bit of innovation … as we go forward.”
Dr Whitehead said “I hope that Government will find its way to, in whatever way possible, support these innovations and these changes because we know what a long road we’ve got to go down and we know what we’ve got to do. We know that by in large that support in the first phases of technical innovation, does actually work in terms of getting people through the valley of death and out the other side.” He closed his keynote address by remarking that “this exhibition, I think, has been a good step forward to getting that to our collective attention.”
Commenting on the event, Lesley Rudd, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Association said she was “encouraged by the range of innovative technologies showcased at the event and pleased with the interest shown by parliamentarians. I would urge parliamentarians will join us in spreading the word about the innovative technologies they saw at the exhibition. The UK has a proud history of innovation and invention and we need to ensure that we are a leader of the clean energy revolution.”
Photos from the event can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/praseg/albums/72157692434664131/with/38841844060/
Video footage of event speeches can be found here:
Media contact: Laura Blaj +44(0) 121 709 5587