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Calling all innovators! We’re seeking radical solutions to age-old energy problems

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For hundreds of years we’ve seen some great inventions associated with the energy sector: from Edison’s light bulb through to Charles Parsons steam turbine and more recently, we can produce energy however we want, be it from the wind, the sun or the ocean. We can even alter the temperature of our lounge from our mobile phone, now that’s progress! So on the face of it, the energy sector looks like a great place to invent things.

Energy measurement in the home

It’s notoriously difficult to get into the energy sector

However, when you dig a bit deeper, it’s actually really difficult to get new technologies into these businesses that are amongst the most highly regulated and risk averse in the world. I regularly come across small innovative companies who complain they can never get to put their new ideas in front of the big energy companies.

Heavily regulated sector 

The fact is, it’s not necessarily because the energy companies haven’t got time, or that they have too many new ideas to worry about, its actually because they know how difficult it could be to take a new radical idea forward to commercialisation because of:

  • regulation
  • health & safety
  • design codes
  • public acceptance

so they don’t want to waste your time.

On one hand, you can accept the reluctance to adopt new technologies. If the technology goes wrong, it could cost millions or even billions of pounds to fix it. So why would they take the risk?

But the energy sector has serious problems that need fixing 

Yet the ironic thing is that, of all sectors, some of the biggest problems the energy sector has, have been around for decades and are already costing them hundreds of millions of pounds a year either in lost production, increased maintenance or intermediate fixes to problems that have to be fixed again next year.

Guess what? – Innovate UK has support to change the game! 

So that’s why Innovate UK wants to try something really different to help the energy sector. And guess what? We have got the support of the sector to do it!

We are launching the Energy Game Changer competition, which will fund projects up to £100,000 in size to help solve challenges that have been set by the energy sector itself. We’ve grouped the challenges into three areas:

  1. Taking inspection to the limit
  2. Dealing with data
  3. Engaging in energy

Only companies outside energy sector can lead

The real difference is in how we are dealing with these challenges. Only micro or small-medium companies who work outside the energy sector can lead a project, so we really are looking for radical new ideas or technology transfer. So if you think you can make a difference to the energy sector and have some radical solutions have a look at the Energy game-changer competition challenges, come along to one of our brokering meetings and talk to some of the guys who set the challenges:

We’ll get you in front of them, even if nobody else can.

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  1. Comment by Melanie Brownridge posted on

    The Innovate UK Energy Game Changer fund is aimed at encouraging new entrants into the energy sector and the NDA particularly wants to bring fresh thinking into nuclear decommissioning, so we have added £500,000 to the fund. Find out more here: