On the 16th June, I attended an event organised by the Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum on “The Future of Research and Innovation in the Energy Sector”. The event was held at the Royal Aeronautical Society, London.
The event covered a wide range of topics such as; the importance of tackling the UK and global energy and environmental challenges (such as COP21) by focusing on energy systems and not silos, how to support research and innovation to become commercial products or services and refocusing research and innovation to be from the consumer’s eyes.
There were several speakers from universities, large companies, not-for-profit organisations and smaller organisations such as, Energy systems catapult, Repowering London, Innovate UK, Institute of Mechanical Engineers and Energy 2050. There is an extensive list at the bottom of this blog. The mix of various organisations seemed to enrich the discussion giving different perspectives on various discussions.
I found the event fascinating. I thought the discussions around refocusing research and innovation around the consumer was an interesting angle, as well as how to navigate around “the valley of death“. The main points which I took away from the event were:
- A majority of speakers who spoke, spoke about empowering, engaging and focusing R&I on the consumer. Repowering London is a great example of this.
- There was a large focus on how to mitigate the “valley of death”; which is the gap between research, innovation and deployment of revenue generating products and services.
- Innovation is crucial to tackling electricity, heat and transport energy challenges.
- Use innovation to solve market problems.