United Kingdom

Plans and Priorities
Plans and Priorities

Access to secure, affordable, clean energy is critical to the world’s ability to keeping global warming below 2 degrees. We have seen the cost of some clean energy technologies fall significantly in recent years but more innovation across a range of technologies is needed if we are to meet the challenges of population growth, increased consumption and increased urbanisation in a sustainable manner.

The UK has a long history and strong capabilities in research, development and demonstration (RD&D). We want to ensure we harness and support the creativeness, ingenuity and entrepreneurship of our universities and businesses in tackling the challenge of ensuring secure, affordable and clean energy for all. Doing so will require both public and private sector investors to invest more in energy RD&D and to work in far closer partnership to ensure that the best ideas are developed, tested and pulled through to market as quickly as possible. Investing in low carbon energy now will drive down the costs and ensure countries can take more ambitious action to cut their emissions before 2030 and grow their economies sustainably in the long term.

For those reasons the UK government has joined with other countries and private sector investors to form Mission Innovation, and we expect to double our spending on relevant energy RD&D to in excess of £400 million in financial year 2020-21.

Funding programme

Our programmes will include support for the full range of RD&D projects – from early stage, disruptive ideas, through to partnerships with private sector investors to test and prove new technologies in real world applications as an enabler of widespread deployment.

We wish to focus our resources on those areas where we can have the optimal impact to deliver our programme objectives and we are currently developing the details of our plans for the 5 years to 2020/21, informed in part by the insights Mission Innovation is providing us. Further details of our priorities and plans will be announced in due course and we will share that detail with fellow Mission Innovation countries.

To keep up to date with information on our Energy Innovation Programme, please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/energy-innovation.


We expect that our programmes will accelerate technology development that will have benefits for developed and developing countries alike, but as part of that up to £100 million of our total spend in 2020 will be specifically focused on projects that will help address the energy needs of developing countries.

The UK is committed to the objectives of Mission Innovation and is playing an active role in progressing its work through our roles as vice-chair of the Steering Committee and co-chair of the Analysis and Joint Research working group, including coordinating the development of the Innovation Challenges.

Methodology for determining baseline

The baseline is based on the average annual investment over the 3-year period from 2013 to 2015. This figure does not include investments made by Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Country definition of clean energy R&D investment

The emphasis will be on TRLs 3-8, that is, for applied energy R&D through to demonstration, focused on renewable energy, smart grid, nuclear, CCS, and other technologies.