The role that new low carbon technologies can play in helping the UK meet its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and moving towards a green economy have been highlighted today with the publication of three in-depth reports into core areas of innovation.
These three new analyses, Technology Innovation Needs Assessments (TINAs), cover non-domestic buildings, industrial emissions efficiency, and domestic buildings and are part of a series that spans 11 low carbon technology areas. The TINAs examine the potential for innovation in these technologies and assess the economic benefits to the UK. This work will also help inform the prioritisation of public and private sector investment to ensure these technologies reach their full potential.
Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker announced the publications today while visiting the University College London Energy Institute. 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, Research Councils UK (RCUK) represented by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and other organisations with significant low carbon innovation interests.
Key findings of the Technology Innovation Needs Assessments (TINAs):
Domestic Buildings: As energy use in homes accounts for about one quarter of the UK's total greenhouse gas emissions, innovation in the domestic buildings sector represents a significant opportunity to help meet the UK's emissions targets as well as providing value through avoided energy costs, amounting to savings of 73 mega tonnes CO2 and c. £16 billion by 2050. Innovation could also help create export opportunities that could contribute an estimated £1.7 billion to GDP by 2050.
Public sector support will be required to unlock this value, as there are significant market barriers across the sector to overcome.
Non-Domestic Buildings: The energy used by non-domestic buildings accounts for approximately 18% of UK carbon emissions. The portfolio of non-domestic buildings is diverse and by 2050, total UK non-domestic floor area is expected to increase by 35%, while 60% of existing buildings will still be in use.
Innovative energy saving measures in non-domestic buildings sector represent a significant opportunity help meet emissions targets, as well as providing value through avoided energy costs, amounting to savings of 86 mega tonnes CO2 and c. £13 billion by 2050. Innovation could help create export opportunities that could contribute an estimated £1.7 billion to GDP by 2050.
Industrial Energy Efficiency: Emissions reduction opportunities in UK industries present tremendous potential to generate energy, save carbon and reduce cost of operations. The abatement potential in the key emitting industries in the UK is in the range of 270-500 mega tonnes with cost savings of £17-32 billion by 2050. Innovation is critical to enable deployment and reduce cost as the technology commercialises. Public sector support for innovation is necessary to maintain the UK's industrial presence and competitiveness in the global market. Innovation will also boost the UK's share of global market and could contribute an additional £3.9 billion (£1.5-6.5 billion) to the UK GDP by 2050.