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UK: New energy ministry starts distributing money

In the course of a cabinet reshuffle in the UK, a whole new ministry for the energy sector was launched. The first official act of the new Secretary of State Grant Shapps: distributing money to innovators

 A new ministry will be responsible for the energy sector in London (Image: Pixabay) A new ministry will be responsible for the energy sector in London (Image: Pixabay)

As the current UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised during his election campaign, the British government will be restructured. In the course of this, it was announced yesterday that the former Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will be dissolved and replaced by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero Energy.

With this move, the government says it wants to address the significant impact of rising prices on households across the country due to Putin's illegal war in Ukraine, as well as the need to generate more energy from domestic nuclear and renewable sources.

However, this is not sitting well with everyone: The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) fears that the reshuffle will be fraught with unnecessary delays. Dr. Nina Skorupska CBE FEI, Executive Director of the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), said, "An energy department with a focus on Net Zero is welcome, as long as the Government now hits the ground running and avoids the usual delays while new departments are established. Decision making in the sector has already been woefully delayed over the last few years, and a joined-up approach across these new departments is essential, as well as implementing the recommendations from Chris Skidmore’s Net Zero Report 'Mission Zero', which clearly stated that “Net Zero is the largest growth opportunity of the 21st century."

Greenpeace UK chief executive Doug Parr is even more outspoken, saying, according to ReNews, that reintroducing a Department of Energy would be as helpful as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic in the face of rising energy costs and increasing climate disasters. "It’s government policy and underinvestment that is holding back real action on the climate and energy crises, not the departments or ministers in place."

The UK government keeps launching competitions to drive innovation in the energy sector (Image: Pixabay)

To counter his critics, new Secretary of State Shapps is now straight away handing out money to so-called innovators: £19 million will be given to UK entrepreneurs to develop greener technologies in the current distribution.

The projects across the UK are designed to enable the industry to play its part in helping the country meet its 2050 net zero target by providing decarbonisation solutions, potentially creating hundreds of green jobs and triggering millions of pounds of private sector investment. 37 UK companies, including small and medium enterprises and start-ups, will receive a share of the £19 million Energy Entrepreneurs Fund.

Among the winning projects in this distribution is Cornwall-based offshore wind robot inspector Inductive Power Projection Ltd, which plans to use the £444,080 funding to develop an innovative wireless radio frequency charging device that can operate floating autonomous 'robot' drones to inspect and maintain offshore wind farms. Jet Engineering System Solutions will receive £255,754 to develop a floating 5G network that will enable fast and reliable communications over long distances at sea to support the installation of wind farms.

Grant Shapps commented: "The UK is a nation of innovators, and this funding will help the next generation of energy pioneers develop cheap and green technologies of the future."

The next competition, worth £5 million, is due to start in summer. Until then, the new ministry will have to prove its ability to act elsewhere.

Katrin Radtke
UK, ministry, State Secretary, funding, competition, green, innovation, energy security, renewable energy

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