The Energy Innovation Agency has officially launched, bringing together world-leading academic, private sector and public sector expertise to help bridge the energy innovation gap and find solutions to make sure Greater Manchester can reach its carbon-neutral targets.
By leveraging the potential of the region’s world-class growth and innovation assets, the Agency aims to lead the way, opening up opportunities in all parts of the city-region, to accelerate energy innovation across the Greater Manchester and beyond.
Based in Greater Manchester, the Agency has been established by three leading universities (The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Salford), property specialists Bruntwood, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, The Growth Company, Hitachi Europe, and energy firm SSE Energy Solutions.
The Agency will focus on four core challenge areas*, attracting and supporting energy innovators on their journey to commercialisation. The Agency will launch with a series of challenge events based on each focus area, which are designed to engage innovators from across the country and beyond, to solve some of the industry’s greatest problems and accelerate the journey to net zero carbon.
The first challenge will focus on finding new solutions to decarbonise heat generation in non-domestic buildings.
David Schiele, Director of the Energy Innovation Agency, said: “Twelve per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions are produced from heating non-domestic buildings, of which sixty per cent still generate their heat by gas. Reducing these emissions will be essential for the UK and, indeed, the rest of the world to speed up the progress of creating carbon-neutral cities and towns.
“As the home of The Energy Innovation Agency, Greater Manchester will be our testbed for this challenge, as well as the three challenges to follow. The potential prize extends far beyond the confines of our city-region and as such we’re looking globally as well as locally to find solutions that can help to bolster this transition. We need innovators, entrepreneurs, and rainmakers to come forward with their brightest responses to this challenge - the world literally depends on it.”
Rising energy costs and increased legislation on commercial landlords, such as the 2023 requirement for all rented commercial properties to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rated E or above, have already created a strong market driver for solutions that can help to lower carbon emissions.
Solving these issues will require innovation in technology, processes, partnerships, business models and financial structures.
*The four areas of focus for the Agency are decarbonisation of heat, energy generation and storage, low-carbon transport, and energy diversity and flexibility. For more information: https://energyinnovationagency.co.uk/areas-of-focus/