Press release: Winners of £51 million government competition to develop world-leading self-driving car testing infrastructure unveiled

  • the 4 projects will test the speed, safety and potential opportunities for delivering CAV innovation, helping ensure the UK remains world-leading
  • 4 consortia have been selected in this first round, led by HORIBA MIRA, Millbrook Proving Ground, TRL and the Warwick Manufacturing Group

Four projects across 5 locations in the West Midlands have today (19 October) been awarded a total of £51 million in funding for creating the environments needed to fully test CAV technology.

  • HORIBA MIRA in Nuneaton will build a new site alongside its existing vehicle test tracks where automated vehicles can be tested at the limits of their speed and handling to ensure they are safe
  • Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire and Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) based in the Culham Science Centre in Oxfordshire will set up a range of different test areas mimicking increasingly realistic city driving environments, where automated vehicles can be tested before being taken onto public roads
  • 2 projects will adapt real world locations for testing of automated vehicles in live traffic:
    • TRL will lead a project to set up live test environments in Greenwich and Stratford’s Olympic Park in London
    • Warwick Manufacturing Group will set up real world test environments in Coventry and Birmingham

Reflecting the UK’s ability to compete globally in this hotly contested sector, Jim Hackett, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ford Motor Company, opened Ford Europe’s Smart Mobility Innovation Office at the Olympic Park in Stratford yesterday. It will initially host 40 specialists brought together to develop smart mobility technologies for cities.

All the CAV projects announced today will be fully operational and advancing technology development in this sector within the next 18 to 24 months.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

Combining ambitious new technologies and innovative business models to address social and economic challenges lies at the heart of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy. Accelerating connected and autonomous vehicle technology development is central to achieving this ambition and will help to ensure the UK is one of the world’s go-to locations to develop this sector.

These projects, backed by government, form part of a globally unique cluster running from our automotive heartlands in the West Midlands, down through our innovation centres in Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes, through to London, Europe’s only megacity.

To achieve this, government and industry are working together to create the world’s most effective CAV testing ecosystem, integrating existing proving grounds and public road test sites across the UK’s existing automotive sector, strengthening existing capabilities and creating new ones.

This new ecosystem will be co-ordinated through MERIDIAN, a new government-backed and industry-led hub to develop CAV technology in the UK.

The MERIDIAN programme lays the foundation for a truly unique, world class, future transport technology testing ecosystem in which automotive and digital sectors can compete globally, and emerging businesses have unprecedented access to facilities.

Chair of the Auto Council Technology Group, Graham Hoare said:

Currently no other country has taken this innovative leveraged national approach and this can be a major differentiator on the global stage. This will be a globally unique set of capabilities that is co-ordinated and developed to provide a solution to industry that will enhance delivery efficiency, collaboration and knowledge growth.

Launch Director of MERIDIAN, Jim Campbell said:

As connected and autonomous vehicle technology becomes more complex, ensuring that the UK automotive industry has world-leading facilities to test and refine concepts is of imperative importance. Today’s announcement from government is a strong first step to ensure the UK achieves its ambition of becoming a global hub of CAV development in the coming years.

The MERIDIAN will offer world class CAV testing and development in the UK which allows us to accelerate research, development and adoption of these vehicles.

Director of Manufacturing and Materials at Innovate UK, Simon Edmonds, said:

This first wave of testbed infrastructure investment is crucial at establishing a UK cluster of excellence to test and develop autonomous vehicle technology. This is another good example of how the UK is leading the way on this exciting agenda, and how UK companies can take advantage of the massive opportunities it presents.

This important investment, as part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, will further boost the UK’s opportunity to secure a share of the global connected and autonomous vehicles market that is expected to be worth up to £51 billion by 2020.

Automotive and technology companies will be able to accelerate their research programmes in real-life environments in UK cities, along with specially designed virtual and controlled test environments.

As well as securing high quality jobs for the future, it will unlock significant social benefits such as improving safety and provide better mobility access for the young, the elderly, and the disabled.

Yesterday the government introduced the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill as part of plans to boost the green transport revolution. The Bill will increase the access and availability of chargepoints for electric cars, while also giving the government powers to make it compulsory for chargepoints to be installed across the country and enabling drivers of automated cars to be insured on UK roads.

Notes to editors

1) The projects are the first to be funded from the government’s £100 million Connected and Autonomous Vehicles testing infrastructure programme announced in November 2016 and will be matched by industry.

2) The £51 million funding will be allocated across the UK: £31 million in the West Midlands, £7 million in Oxfordshire and Bedfordshire, and £13 million in London.

3) The winning CAV projects are:

Project title Location Public funding Total project value* Consortium partners
Smart Mobility Living Lab: London Greenwich and Stratford (Olympic Park) £13.4m £19.2m TRL (leader), Digital Greenwich, London Legacy Development Corporation, Cisco, Costain, Cubic, TfL, Loughborough University (London campus), and delivery partners, Millbrook and 5G Innovation Centre (University of Surrey)
UK Central CAV Testbed Coventry and Birmingham £17.6m £25.3m Warwick Manufacturing Group (leader), Amey, AVL, Costain, Coventry University, Horiba Mira, Transport for West Midlands, Wireless Infrastructure Group
MCTEE (Millbrook-Culham Test and Evaluation Environment) Millbrook (near Milton Keynes) and Culham (near Oxford) £6.9m £10m Millbrook Proving Ground (leader) and UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE, at Culham Science Centre)
TIC-IT (Trusted Intelligent CAVs) Nuneaton £13m £26m HORIBA MIRA (leader) and Coventry University

* Full 50% industry match will be met through operation and maintenance of the project facilities.

4) Since the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles was created in 2015 the government has awarded more than £100 million to 51 projects researching and developing connected and autonomous technology advancement.

These projects are all collaborative, involving more than 150 individual organisations from SMEs to global companies. 51 of these projects include a number of high profile trials to understand how members of the public will interact with the vehicles. These include:

  • the GATEWAY consortia which will run four autonomous shuttles around the Greenwich peninsula in November this year (2017) for the public to use
  • the UK AUTODRIVE consortia which will operate up to 40 autonomous pods in Milton Keynes in 2018
  • the VENTURER consortia which has been undertaking a series of increasingly complex trials in the Bristol area
  • a third collaborative research and development competition, now open with £25 million of funding available to the winning projects, the competition closes on 25 October

Press release: Winners of £51 million government competition to develop world-leading self-driving car testing infrastructure unveiled

  • the 4 projects will test the speed, safety and potential opportunities for delivering CAV innovation, helping ensure the UK remains world-leading
  • 4 consortia have been selected in this first round, led by HORIBA MIRA, Millbrook Proving Ground, TRL and the Warwick Manufacturing Group

Four projects across 5 locations in the West Midlands have today (19 October) been awarded a total of £51 million in funding for creating the environments needed to fully test CAV technology.

  • HORIBA MIRA in Nuneaton will build a new site alongside its existing vehicle test tracks where automated vehicles can be tested at the limits of their speed and handling to ensure they are safe
  • Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire and Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) based in the Culham Science Centre in Oxfordshire will set up a range of different test areas mimicking increasingly realistic city driving environments, where automated vehicles can be tested before being taken onto public roads
  • 2 projects will adapt real world locations for testing of automated vehicles in live traffic:
    • TRL will lead a project to set up live test environments in Greenwich and Stratford’s Olympic Park in London
    • Warwick Manufacturing Group will set up real world test environments in Coventry and Birmingham

Reflecting the UK’s ability to compete globally in this hotly contested sector, Jim Hackett, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ford Motor Company, opened Ford Europe’s Smart Mobility Innovation Office at the Olympic Park in Stratford yesterday. It will initially host 40 specialists brought together to develop smart mobility technologies for cities.

All the CAV projects announced today will be fully operational and advancing technology development in this sector within the next 18 to 24 months.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

Combining ambitious new technologies and innovative business models to address social and economic challenges lies at the heart of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy. Accelerating connected and autonomous vehicle technology development is central to achieving this ambition and will help to ensure the UK is one of the world’s go-to locations to develop this sector.

These projects, backed by government, form part of a globally unique cluster running from our automotive heartlands in the West Midlands, down through our innovation centres in Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes, through to London, Europe’s only megacity.

To achieve this, government and industry are working together to create the world’s most effective CAV testing ecosystem, integrating existing proving grounds and public road test sites across the UK’s existing automotive sector, strengthening existing capabilities and creating new ones.

This new ecosystem will be co-ordinated through MERIDIAN, a new government-backed and industry-led hub to develop CAV technology in the UK.

The MERIDIAN programme lays the foundation for a truly unique, world class, future transport technology testing ecosystem in which automotive and digital sectors can compete globally, and emerging businesses have unprecedented access to facilities.

Chair of the Auto Council Technology Group, Graham Hoare said:

Currently no other country has taken this innovative leveraged national approach and this can be a major differentiator on the global stage. This will be a globally unique set of capabilities that is co-ordinated and developed to provide a solution to industry that will enhance delivery efficiency, collaboration and knowledge growth.

Launch Director of MERIDIAN, Jim Campbell said:

As connected and autonomous vehicle technology becomes more complex, ensuring that the UK automotive industry has world-leading facilities to test and refine concepts is of imperative importance. Today’s announcement from government is a strong first step to ensure the UK achieves its ambition of becoming a global hub of CAV development in the coming years.

The MERIDIAN will offer world class CAV testing and development in the UK which allows us to accelerate research, development and adoption of these vehicles.

Director of Manufacturing and Materials at Innovate UK, Simon Edmonds, said:

This first wave of testbed infrastructure investment is crucial at establishing a UK cluster of excellence to test and develop autonomous vehicle technology. This is another good example of how the UK is leading the way on this exciting agenda, and how UK companies can take advantage of the massive opportunities it presents.

This important investment, as part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, will further boost the UK’s opportunity to secure a share of the global connected and autonomous vehicles market that is expected to be worth up to £51 billion by 2020.

Automotive and technology companies will be able to accelerate their research programmes in real-life environments in UK cities, along with specially designed virtual and controlled test environments.

As well as securing high quality jobs for the future, it will unlock significant social benefits such as improving safety and provide better mobility access for the young, the elderly, and the disabled.

Yesterday the government introduced the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill as part of plans to boost the green transport revolution. The Bill will increase the access and availability of chargepoints for electric cars, while also giving the government powers to make it compulsory for chargepoints to be installed across the country and enabling drivers of automated cars to be insured on UK roads.

Notes to editors

1) The projects are the first to be funded from the government’s £100 million Connected and Autonomous Vehicles testing infrastructure programme announced in November 2016 and will be matched by industry.

2) The £51 million funding will be allocated across the UK: £31 million in the West Midlands, £7 million in Oxfordshire and Bedfordshire, and £13 million in London.

3) The winning CAV projects are:

Project title Location Public funding Total project value* Consortium partners
Smart Mobility Living Lab: London Greenwich and Stratford (Olympic Park) £13.4m £19.2m TRL (leader), Digital Greenwich, London Legacy Development Corporation, Cisco, Costain, Cubic, TfL, Loughborough University (London campus), and delivery partners, Millbrook and 5G Innovation Centre (University of Surrey)
UK Central CAV Testbed Coventry and Birmingham £17.6m £25.3m Warwick Manufacturing Group (leader), Amey, AVL, Costain, Coventry University, Horiba Mira, Transport for West Midlands, Wireless Infrastructure Group
MCTEE (Millbrook-Culham Test and Evaluation Environment) Millbrook (near Milton Keynes) and Culham (near Oxford) £6.9m £10m Millbrook Proving Ground (leader) and UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE, at Culham Science Centre)
TIC-IT (Trusted Intelligent CAVs) Nuneaton £13m £26m HORIBA MIRA (leader) and Coventry University

* Full 50% industry match will be met through operation and maintenance of the project facilities.

4) Since the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles was created in 2015 the government has awarded more than £100 million to 51 projects researching and developing connected and autonomous technology advancement.

These projects are all collaborative, involving more than 150 individual organisations from SMEs to global companies. 51 of these projects include a number of high profile trials to understand how members of the public will interact with the vehicles. These include:

  • the GATEWAY consortia which will run four autonomous shuttles around the Greenwich peninsula in November this year (2017) for the public to use
  • the UK AUTODRIVE consortia which will operate up to 40 autonomous pods in Milton Keynes in 2018
  • the VENTURER consortia which has been undertaking a series of increasingly complex trials in the Bristol area
  • a third collaborative research and development competition, now open with £25 million of funding available to the winning projects, the competition closes on 25 October

ENGIE accelerates its development in the off-grid energy market by joining forces with Fenix, a pioneer in Africa’s Solar Home System market

ENGIE and Fenix announce that they have agreed on a transaction in which ENGIE will acquire 100% of Fenix International1, a next generation energy company, offering Solar Home Systems (SHS) in Africa. Founded in 2009, Fenix employs 350 people and has its main activities in Uganda where it is the leading SHS player with more than 140,000 customers. Fenix recently expanded into Zambia and plans further roll-outs in other countries across Africa. Fenix will be the first SHS company to join a major worldwide energy company, which puts the fight against climate change and energy access at the very center of its purpose.

Bruno Bensasson, CEO of ENGIE Africa: “We believe that combining the strengths of ENGIE, a global energy player and Fenix, a successful company with very strong customer focus, high-quality products and an experienced team anchored in the heart of Sub-Saharan Africa, will enable faster deployment of SHS to the large African population still lacking access to electricity. Fenix will be the agile growth engine for ENGIE’s SHS business in Africa and enable us to become a leading profitable off-grid energy services company on the continent, reaching millions of customers by 2020. We do believe that universal access is now reachable in a foreseeable future by the combination of national grids extension, local micro-grids and solar home systems, depending on the local characteristics of the energy demand.

Lyndsay Handler, CEO of Fenix International: “Fenix and ENGIE share the belief that universal access to energy is possible and paramount. To date, Fenix has delivered reliable solar power to over 900,000 people in East Africa. By joining forces with ENGIE – one of the world’s largest independent utility companies with a firm commitment to a decentralized, decarbonized and digital energy revolution – we will greatly accelerate the path to our vision.” She added: “Our values and our team will remain at the core of Fenix. We will continue to relentlessly pursue an exceptional customer experience in all we do and we will invest even more in building a great team with a strong culture. Together with ENGIE’s ambitions, experience, talent and long-term investments, we will deliver affordable power and other life-changing products to customers across Africa and make universal access to modern energy a reality.

Over 600 million people lack access to modern energy in Africa. Rapid improvement of photovoltaic, battery storage technologies and mobile payment platforms make it possible for companies to offer affordable, reliable and expandable solar home systems. Fenix‘s flagship product, ReadyPay Power, provides lighting, phone charging and power for TVs and radios. The technology is offered on a lease-to-own basis so that off-grid customers can finance their power system through micro instalments over mobile money. Fenix uses the financing of the solar home system to build a credit score for each customer which can then be used to power and finance other life-changing products and services from Fenix.

This investment will contribute to ENGIE’s goal of providing 20 million people around the world with access to decarbonized, decentralized energy by 2020, using the latest digital technologies. Fenix’s strength within the home solar market in Africa will play a strategic part in the realisation of this goal, given the number of households that off-grid solar is expected to reach over the coming years. The World Bank has estimated that up to 99 million households, more than a third of those that are off-grid, will rely on home solar by 2020, with the market growing fastest in Africa 2.

1 Closing of the transaction will happen once all approvals of the relevant regulatory bodies are received.

2 The Off Grid Solar Market Trends Report 2016, The World Bank and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), click here to know more.

About Fenix

Fenix is a next-generation, end-to-end renewable energy company that does everything from design, manufacturing, sales, financing and customer service. Fenix’s flagship product, ReadyPay Power, is an expandable, lease-to-own home solar system financed through ultra-affordable instalments over Mobile Money. We use real-time transaction data to create a next-generation credit score to finance power upgrades or other life-changing loans. To date, we have sold over 140,000 ReadyPay Power systems and we are growing our product portfolio and geographic coverage to bring power and a wider world of financing to millions of customers by 2020.

Fenix is an awardee of Scaling Off-Grid Energy: A Grand Challenge for Development. Scaling Off-Grid Energy is a global partnership founded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Power Africa, the U.K. Department for International Development’s Energy Africa campaign, and the Shell Foundation – a UK-registered charity. The Grand Challenge for Development aims to extend energy access to 20 million households across sub-Saharan Africa through off-grid household solar solutions.

Fenix was advised by Enclude and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati on this transaction. For more information visit www.fenixintl.com

About ENGIE AFRICA

ENGIE has been present in Africa for 50 years, where it rolls out its electricity generation, natural gas and energy services activities for territories, companies and households. ENGIE has centralized electricity capacities of approximately 3,000 MW in Africa, either opera-tional or under construction. ENGIE is also developing decentralized electricity production for isolated businesses and rural villages.For more information visit www.engie-africa.com

About ENGIE

ENGIE is committed to taking on the major challenges of the energy revolution, towards a world more decarbonised, decentralised and digitalised. The Group aims to become the leader of this new energy world by focusing on three key activities for the future: low carbon generation in particular from natural gas and renewable energy, energy infrastructure and efficient solutions adapted to all its customers (individuals, businesses, territories, etc.). Innovation, digital solutions and customer satisfaction are the guiding principles of ENGIE’s development. ENGIE is active in around 70 countries, employs 150,000 people worldwide and achieved revenues of €66.6 billion in 2016. The Group is listed on the Paris and Brussels stock exchanges (ENGI) and is represented in the main financial indices (CAC 40, BEL 20, DJ Euro Stoxx 50, Euronext 100, FTSE Eurotop 100, MSCI Europe) and non-financial indices (DJSI World, DJSI Europe and Euronext Vigeo Eiris – World 120, Eurozone 120, Europe 120, France 20, CAC 40 Governance).

Posted in Uncategorised

Centrica’s new power stations and battery power stations in the UK

Power_Station_UK

The construction of new power stations and battery power stations has come about as a result of the changing energy landscape.

Before, energy came from reliable sources such as coal and gas, whereas now, more and more power is coming from renewable sources like solar and wind.

While this is great during windy and sunny periods, there needs to be a backup solution. Typically, fast response plants are used during periods of high demands, but there is also a need for security of energy supply during dull days.

Here’s a look at some new power stations and battery power stations that Centrica is currently constructing throughout the UK.

1. Brigg

Part of Centrica’s £180m investment into flexible power generation and storage facilities, Brigg is a fast response 50MW gas-fired plant placed next to an existing Centrica power station.

Once complete, the new plant will operate as a highly flexible ‘peaking plant’ that will be able to go from a cold standstill up to full power in under two minutes. The plant is likely to run for a few hours a day when energy demand is high.

2. Peterborough

The same facility that has been built at Brigg is being constructed in Peterborough, and is expected to be up and running in the last quarter of 2018.

The 50MW gas-fired plant will play a key role in supporting local peaks in demand, producing enough energy to meet the needs of around 50,000 homes.

The plant will be made up of five small reciprocating engines that will typically be used on weekdays to meet periods of high demand or to provide back-up power when it’s needed.

3. Roosecote

Elsewhere, the construction of a 49MW facility in Roosecote was confirmed in December 2016.

This will be one of the world’s largest battery storage facilities, located at the site of the former Roosecote power station in Barrow.

The facility will respond to changes in the grid frequency in under a second, absorbing and exporting energy as needed to keep the grid at 50Hz.

brigg_power_station

CHP

Combined Heat & Power (CHP) converts a single fuel into both electricity and heat in a single process at the point of use.

This is more efficient (around 25% more – given conventional energy generation has an efficiency of around 50%, this is a huge difference) than traditional engines because it reduces the need to have a separate gas boiler to create heat on site. Energy generated can be stored for later use, or sold to the grid.

conventional_vs_chp_generation_power_station

In addition, Centrica is also working on smaller battery projects (2MW), which will give organisations such as local authorities control over energy usage and trading.

With on site generation like CHPs and solar panels, they can store energy when there’s excess and use it for later or export it to the grid.

Also read: A new record for renewables in the UK

Image credit: Utility Week

Notice: Enemy Property Payments and Baltic States schemes: invitation to apply

During the Second World War the UK government confiscated assets in British territories owned by residents of enemy countries under the Trading with the Enemy Act 1939. The Enemy Property Payment scheme and Baltic States scheme were established to compensate those who had their assets in the UK incorrectly confiscated.

The purpose of this notice is to invite original owners or their heirs to apply for compensation where their UK assets have not yet been returned to them.

Detailed guide: Make a claim under the enemy property compensation schemes

During the Second World War the UK government confiscated assets in British territories owned by residents of enemy countries under the Trading with the Enemy Act 1939.

The Enemy Property Payment scheme and Baltic States scheme were established to compensate those who had their assets in the UK incorrectly confiscated. Claimants can be victims of Nazi persecution or those who were only considered ‘enemies’ at the time because their countries were under occupation.

How to apply for compensation

If you believe that you are eligible you can seek further information from:

Janette Plumridge
Enemy Property Claims Assessment Panel (EPCAP) Secretariat
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1 Victoria Street
London SW1H 0ET
United Kingdom

Email: Janette.Plumridge@beis.gov.uk

The secretariat will check the records and let you know what information and supporting documentation is required.

How claims are assessed

Both schemes are administered by an independent Enemy Property Compensation Advisory Panel (ECAP). Their role is to consider and make decisions on these claims. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy provides a secretariat to the panel.

Further information

Contact

Janette.Plumridge@beis.gov.uk

E.ON employee runs Birmingham International Marathon for Alzheimer’s Society

Worcestershire resident Phil Shaw has successfully completed the inaugural Birmingham International Marathon in aid of Alzheimer’s Society, E.ON’s official charity partner.

Phil lives in Alvechurch, Worcestershire, and is E.ON’s Director of Residential Operations. He decided to run for Alzheimer’s Society for personal reasons and has reached his fundraising target of £1,500.

Phil said: “Last year, my children and I did the Memory Walk for Alzheimer’s Society and had a great time. This year, I decided to step up the pace a little! I thought I’d challenge myself for my 40th Birthday to train for my first marathon and raise even more money for this amazing charity. I’m absolutely thrilled to have done it.

“My father suffers from Parkinson’s disease, which has very strong links to dementia, and I’ve also seen many families I know be affected by Alzheimer’s and so I felt very strongly about raising money for the amazing work that Alzheimer’s Society does. All of the money I’ve raised is going to Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Support Workers who make such a fantastic difference!”

Alzheimer’s Society Community Fundraiser, Emma Dowler, said: “It’s truly amazing to see how passionate and committed Phil and other E.ON volunteers are in fundraising for our Dementia Support Workers and we’re very appreciative of all of E.ON’s support.

“All of the money raised by Phil, as well as other fundraising efforts by E.ON employees, will be used to fund Dementia Support Workers who work in the community, including in and around Worcestershire. Dementia Support Workers provide support, information and guidance to people affected by dementia to help maintain their independence, improving their sense of wellbeing and putting them more in control of their lives. They assist people affected by dementia to identify their needs and access to services.”

Alzheimer’s Society was chosen as E.ON’s official charity partner by colleague vote. The two-year relationship began in the summer of 2016 with the aim of donating £200,000 to the charity.

For more information about accessing the Dementia Support Workers service, please call the Worcestershire office on 01905 621868

For more information about E.ON’s work with Alzheimer’s Society, visit eonenergy.com/charity

Ends

For more information contact:

Naomi Troy, 02476 180 523, naomi.troy@eon-uk.com

Fiona MacGregor, 07976374161, fiona.macgregor@eon-uk.com

Jane Branscombe, 02476 183 681, jane.branscombe@eon-uk.com