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Treasury Minister expresses appreciation for ERA's work

The Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) welcomes positive comments made by Kemi Badenoch MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, and Aaron Bell MP, regarding the organisation’s work on energy innovation. The comments made in Parliament on 20th October 2020 came at a time when ERA is embarking on an ambitious plan to further its world leading research into energy solutions and Net Zero pathways, applying for a further £250m of Government funding in the Comprehensive Spending Review. The project is representative of the region’s ambitious climate agenda and stands to level up the Midlands, kickstarting employment through the creation of almost 7,000 Covid recovery, high skilled, green jobs.

During the exchange in the House of Commons, Aaron Bell MP, said: “The Energy Research Accelerator brings together nine midlands research-intensive organisations, including Keele University in my constituency of Newcastle-under-Lyme. With its initial Government funding, it secured 23 new research facilities, £120 million of industrial funding and £450 million of total value added in new investment in energy research and development. Will my honorable friend praise the work that it has done and look favourably on its submissions seeking further funding to build on those successes to deliver on this Government’s commitments both to net-zero and, of course, to levelling up?”

Responding to the question from Aaron Bell MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Kemi Badenoch MP, stated: “The Government appreciate the work that the Energy Research Accelerator has been undertaking across the midlands on energy innovation. We have set out our ambition to invest up to £22 billion in R&D by 2024-25. The Chancellor also announced in the spring Budget that the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy innovation programme will at least double to £1 billion-plus. R&D investment will continue to have a strong regional impact and benefit areas across the UK, including the midlands.”

Welcoming the comments Director of ERA Professor Martin Freer said: “We are delighted that the Government appreciate the work that the Energy Research Accelerator has been undertaking across the midlands on energy innovation. We would like to thank the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury for her comments and Aaron Bell MP for his support. Over the last five years, the Energy Research Accelerator has demonstrated its ability to deliver. We have established 23 world-leading facilities, secured £110 million in industrial co-investment, and have brought together over a thousand researchers who are helping hundreds of businesses to innovate. Our new proposal has the potential to deliver 7,000 high skilled green jobs to boost the UK economy’s Covid-19 recovery, and we hope Government will back our plans in the Comprehensive Spending Review.”

ERA brings together 9 Midlands research intensive organisations and a community of nearly 1,500 researchers, with a mission to deliver regional impact in energy and interconnected systems. With an initial funding of £60m managed through Innovate UK, within a short space of time ERA has delivered beyond the original expectation. ERA has created 23 new research facilities, obtained £120m of industrial funding and close to £450m of total value in terms of new investments in energy research and development. ERA has already helped to create jobs, develop skills and support over 1,000 SMEs and is now seeking further government support to continue to build on these successes.
The provision of proposed funding would help the ERA generate:

  • £250m in investment for the Midlands
  • 6,800 Green jobs
  • £1.5BN GVA

ERA has identified the major national and regional energy challenges and ‘Big Ideas’ which it will focus on in our next phase. These are:

  • Energy Storage - medium duration energy storage is needed as part of decarbonised electricity systems.
  • Decarbonisation of heat - remains the biggest energy challenge and acceleration and coordination in this sector is required.
  • System Simulation, Data, Digital and Informatics - dramatic changes to our energy infrastructure is hard to manage and hard to plan - real time simulation, data curation and informatics and large-scale demonstration is key.
  • Integrating Resource Recovery with Energy Production - the low-carbon management of resources produced in energy systems and beyond is essential.
  • Alternative Fuels - development and characterisation of replacements for fossil fuels is essential in decarbonisation of transport sectors such as aviation.
  • Low-Carbon Transportation – Low carbon individual urban transport offers a significant opportunity for decarbonisation. Regional freight transport will require different solutions such as hydrogen to help it decarbonise. The programme will support both of these areas.

The video of the question asked in the House of Commons can be seen here.

ENDS

Contact
Nick King on 07964-391-057 or email Nick.King@era.ac.uk
Jo Dalton on 07970-550-471 or email J.D@lodestonecommunications.com

Notes to editors
More details about ERA's proposal, including a download of the full document can be found here

The Energy Research Accelerator (ERA)
ERA is a key programme within Midlands Innovation which consists of eight partner universities and also the British Geological Survey (BGS). ERA harnesses the Midlands’ combined research excellence and industry expertise to play a critical role in tackling some of the biggest challenges facing the UK. Via Innovate UK, the government committed an initial capital investment of £60m for ERA phase 1 and ERA secured additional co-investment of £120m. ERA is delivering new technologies and behaviours which demonstrate the transformative effect ERA has on industry and the energy system. www.era.ac.uk

The following organisations are amongst over 40 that have declared written support for the submission:
Rolls-Royce, ENGIE, WSP, Cadent Gas, Centrica, EPRI, REA, Energy Systems Catapult, Siemens, EDF Energy, ITM Power, National Grid

ERA