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'TINAs' turn heads in the low-carbon arena

16 August 2012

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

Greg Barker

The Technology Innovation Needs Assessments (TINAs) cover marine energy, electricity networks and storage, and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), examining the potential for innovation in these technologies and assessing the economic benefits to the UK.

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 (pictured) 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.”

Among the key findings of the 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.

For more information, click here.


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