Carbon reducing initiatives set to secure international showcase
Oxfordshire has established itself as the home of carbon-reducing energy innovation and now a new competition, backed by leading academic, local authority and business organisations, has today (18 January) been launched to find the county’s current leading projects.
The competition, known as Energy Pathfinders: 2050 (EP:50), follows the publication of the county’s Energy Strategy in late-2019 and reflects the importance being placed on innovation by the UK government, especially in the run-up to COP26 in November later this year.
The Energy Strategy revealed that the sector makes a significant contribution to Oxfordshire’s economy, generating £1.15bn a year, or 7% of the county’s economic output (pre COVID-19).
EP:50 will shine a light on a wide range of projects in the categories of Built Environment & Communities, Transport & Infrastructure, and Energy Efficiency & Demand Reduction. The judges will also make a further award to a project which demonstrates exemplary standards of diversity and inclusion and embodies key aspects of the Energy Strategy.
EP:50 has been created by Oxfordshire Greentech and OxLEP. It comprises a panel of experts from across the private and public sectors, as well as academia too – this includes representatives from: the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University, Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council, Cherwell District Council, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, Taylor Vinters, Pivot Power, and Flexible Funding.
Ahmed Goga, EP:50’s Chair and Director of Strategy at OxLEP, said: “EP:50 is open to all organisations in Oxfordshire who have a relevant project such as green energy generation, reducing usage or sustainable transport. We will assess their impact, scope for scale-up and economic importance to Oxfordshire. Credit will also be given to those organisations demonstrating creation of wider social value, for instance through paying the living wage and offering apprenticeships.”
Hannah Scott, EP:50’s Deputy Chair and Senior Project Officer at Oxfordshire Greentech, said: “We welcome projects in urban, rural and growth locations and particularly those representing diverse communities. Where possible, we will seek to recognise projects and organisations of differing sizes across start-ups, community groups, SMEs and corporates.”
Organisations wishing to submit projects for consideration can find more details on the OxLEP and Oxfordshire Greentech websites. Applications will be received and judged in phases throughout the year, with awards announced periodically, ahead of an annual showcase event.
“The year’s top projects will be highlighted to government via our contacts at the Department for International Trade and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to potential international investors and customers, and to local schools who will be invited to explore the innovations”, added Ahmed.
Hannah Scott summarised: “The Oxfordshire Energy Strategy, which aims for zero carbon growth by 2050, will help to spearhead a further £1.35bn annually to the local economy, creating over 11,000 new jobs by 2030. This initiative will drive further positive change in our county and help demonstrate how Oxfordshire’s sustainability pioneers can help the UK’s green recovery.”
Entries for the Built Environment & Communities category are being accepted until 21 March 2021 and can be made via the OxLEP website.