The Climate Change Act (2008) sets the challenging target that UK greenhouse gas emissions be reduced by 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.
Achieving this requires a radical decarbonisation of all our energy systems and at the same time, we must also become much smarter about how we use energy. And of course, as we journey through the transition to a less carbon-intensive system, we must ensure that our energy supplies remain secure and affordable.
Science and innovation has a key contribution to make in addressing these challenges. A suite of energy technologies will be needed, many of which are with us today, while others will require further research, development and demonstration to bring them to economic and technical readiness.
To help bring about this transformation, Government, industry and research partners have established an Energy Research Partnership (ERP) - a high-level forum of key organisations either funding or otherwise involved in energy research and innovation from across the public and private sectors. The ERP aims to enhance the scale, impact and cohesion of total UK investments, including by identifying and investigating key strategic issues. More information can be found on the ERP website www.energyresearchpartnership.org.uk.
One key success of the ERP has been to support the creation of the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), a public-private initiative with up to £1bn potential funding over 10 years to identify the most promising technologies from research and accelerate their development. The GCSA sits on the ETI board to provide independent expert advice and to help ensure that ETI’s strategy is supported by a strong evidence base. The following link will take you to the ETI website: www.energytechnologies.co.uk
More generally, the GCSA works with departmental Chief Scientific Advisors to help ensure that Government policies and decision making in this important and cross-cutting area are underpinned by robust scientific evidence.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) takes the overall lead within Government on energy policy. The following link will take you the DECC website: www.decc.gov.uk
Further information on relevant science and technology issues and programmes is available from the following sources (non-exhaustive):
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
EPSRC is the UK Government's leading funding agency for research and training in engineering and the physical sciences.
UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC)
UKERC’s role is to promote cohesion within the overall UK energy research effort. It acts as a bridge between the UK energy research community and the wider world, including business, policymakers and the international energy research community and is the centrepiece of the Research Councils Energy Programme.
Through the work of its Energy Policy Advisory Group, the Royal Society delivers independent advice to policy makers on a range of energy and sustainability issues.
The Carbon Trust was set up by Government in 2001 as an independent company. Its mission is to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy by working with organisations to reduce carbon emissions and develop commercial low carbon technologies.
The Technology Strategy Board is an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB), established by the Government in 2007 and sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Its role is to stimulate technology-enabled innovation in the areas which offer the greatest scope for boosting UK growth and productivity.
The Royal Academy of Engineering
The academy engages in the process of policy development on issues that have an engineering dimension. It does this at both national and international levels by formulating own-initiative policy statements and submitting expert response to parliamentary and government bodies.