Oxfordshire 'hugely well positioned' to play leading role in energy technology
Oxfordshire is "hugely well positioned" to play a leading role in the future of green technology according to experts as the Prime Minister unveiled his vision for sustainable energy at an Oxfordshire science lab.
Rishi Sunak visited Culham Science Centre, near Abingdon, yesterday morning to discuss Britain's energy security alongside new Energy Security Secretary, Grant Shapps.
Mr Shapps confirmed the Government would shortly outline plans to "re-balance gas and electricity costs" and these will aim to cut the cost of electricity and to generate power more cleanly.
The lab is run by the UK Atomic Energy Authority and is at the forefront of sustainable energy.
During the visit, the Prime Minister joked about Star Wars with apprentices at the lab's skills academy. Mr Sunak is famously a fan of the science fiction films.
He was also shown how to make robotic arms and tried out 3D printing, saying: "I definitely want one of these to take home" when shown the results.
Chief technology officer of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, Tim Bestwick, said Culham Science centre was chosen for the launch as the centre for fusion research – the search for a clean, green, limitless energy supply.
He said: "Culham is hugely well positioned to play a leading role in the world.
"I'd like to think that was to the real benefit to Oxfordshire as it involves lots of highly skilled people to work here.
"The site was chosen because we think fusion will play an important part in clean energy and also because it is a field that the UK has a leading position."
Mr Bestwick believes Oxfordshire is well-placed in the development of various energy sources as well as fusion.
He said: "There are extraordinary strengths in battery technology at Harwell, in carbon capture at the University of Oxford and there is a lot of work on hydrogen.
"Those topics are all quite prominent in the energy topics and they are all topics in which Oxfordshire has big strengths in.
"Both the secretary of state and the PM were extremely engaged in what is happening here which is great."
He added: "At the end, we discovered the PM is a huge Star Wars fan. He saw a 3D printed model made by our apprentices of a Star Wars figure and he knew all about it."
An extension to the Government's scheme offering £5,000 grants towards heat pump insulation has been granted by the Prime Minister and will now be in place until 2028 instead of the previous cut-off date of 2025.
The visit forms part of the Government's "power up Britain" strategy which aims to give support for carbon capture technology and offshore wind.