An energy review of 2012 – 12 months early

At a time when everyone takes stock of the past year's achievements and prospects for the future, Energy Technologies Institute chief executive officer, David Clarke, likes to do things a little differently as he writes for edie energy.

Rather than predict what might happen in energy development and investment in 2012, let’s look at what will happen.

The new technologies underpinning the development of the UK’s energy infrastructure and policy will provide models that the rest of the world can follow.

They will help ensure that our future energy needs are met as cheaply and quickly as possible. I believe 2012 will be a year of significant advances.

Delivering results

The Energy Technologies Institute’s cross-sectoral energy research and investment programme will ensure that the country can capitalise on the potential for developing clean and affordable energy.

Results in 2012 will include us developing – as a minimum – new evidence-based projects to improve the efficiency of the bio energy sector, provide innovative new solutions for reducing the cost of generating electricity from offshore wind and develop a deeper understanding of the UK’s capacity for carbon capture and storage.

These projects are part of a focused portfolio of energy technologies which will increase energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help to achieve climate change goals. When we look back on 2012 we will see – amongst others – an energy sector newly able to:

Understand how we can marry bio energy crop growth with logistics and pre-processing technology to ensure we grow the right amount of crop in the right place. It will be an important step to achieving a genuinely efficient and attractive bio energy economy in the UK.

Demonstrate that offshore energy sources can be more efficiently and cost-effectively connected to shore.

Draw on a comprehensive assessment and database of national CO2 storage capacity.

This will allow the Government, CO2 emitters, storage operators and technology developers to make informed choices on the rollout of CCS in the UK.

Reaching ambitious targets

These projects bridge the gap between laboratory-scale research and commercial deployment.

All our work is geared towards the latter because making these technologies economically viable is essential for achieving the UK’s ambitious renewable energy and carbon reduction requirements.

The UK Government’s targets of delivering 15% of all energy from renewable sources by 2020, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 34% in the same time frame, are encouraging in their ambition; they demonstrate that we’re taking our energy policy seriously.

These targets are the context and motivation for our projects, and we can safely say that 2012 will be a year of significant advances.

Vital steps forward

Energy continues to be one of the most dynamic industries in the country with, arguably, the greatest potential to affect our future economic prospects.

2012 will see vital steps forward in the development of efficient, cost-effective and secure new energy technology in the UK, supporting our journey to achieve 2020 and 2050 carbon emission reduction targets.

We can start writing our review of the energy sector in 2012 now – a year of genuine action.

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