The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has announced £36m UK government funding for clean energy innovation in the construction industry.
More than £36m of UK government funding will be given to Swansea to support cutting-edge building materials which generate electricity, the Chancellor has declared during a visit to Wales.
The green technology uses light and heat to make energy, and has the ability to power homes, workplaces, schools and also hospitals. These materials could replace conventional walls, roofs and windows, generating electricity which is stored and released by a smart operating system. Additional electricity could also be sold back to the national grid.
The announcement by Hammond supports the government’s mission to at least halve the energy use of new buildings by the year 2030.
On a visit to Swansea University, Hammond said: “Swansea University and the innovative companies working with it are world-leaders in clean energy. The UK government is backing the industries of the future that will deliver jobs and opportunities across Wales.
“This £36m new funding will support exciting green technology that could cut energy bills, reduce carbon emissions and create better homes and workspaces.”
The funding, through the ‘Transforming Construction’ challenge of the government’s Industrial Strategy, will develop supply chains in the UK and give assurance to leading researchers and students, helping attract more investment and jobs to the local area.
Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, said: “The UK government is committed to leading the world in delivering clean energy technology and this additional investment at Swansea University shows that we are prepared to support innovation in this critical area.
“The cutting-edge research being developed at this institution is being translated into practical inventions and techniques that can improve our lives. It truly is science with a purpose.
“Today’s [19 September] funding announcement, on top of the £68m commitment to Swansea University since 2010, will ensure that Wales and one of its most forward-thinking universities will play a key role in keeping the UK at the vanguard of innovation for years to come.”
This new funding is part of the largest increase in research and development (R&D) investment for 40 years, supporting high-value jobs in emerging industries. Since Autumn 2016, the government has invested an additional £7bn in R&D – showing clear progress towards the ambition to raise investment in R&D across the entire UK economy to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is delivering the funding for the new Centre. UKRI Chief Executive Professor Sir Mark Walport said: “As we move towards a low-carbon economy, we need to explore more efficient ways of generating, conserving and using power and energy.
“Active buildings, which integrate solar generation and storage technologies for electricity and heat within their construction, can help to achieve this. The Active Building Centre will work to remove barriers to the large-scale adoption of active buildings on new developments throughout the country.”
The final funding is subject to agreement of governance arrangements around the new centre.