Cheshire’s Energy Innovation Centre has announced that it intends to become a company limited by guarantee (CLG) and therefore a legal entity in its own right. The centre, formed in 2008, seeks to bring energy innovation and industry together in the UK, to help the country move towards a low carbon future.

The Capenhurst-based centre’s move to CLG is being backed by major energy industry players including, Northern Power Grid, Electricity North West, Scottish & Southern Energy, Scottish Power Energy Networks and UK Power Networks. The cange to CLG status will allow the centre to continue to provide access to new technology for networks and help further develop the support services available.

The news follows Ofgem’s recent announcement of a £29.2 million funding pot available from the Innovation Funding Incentive scheme and the £500 million Low Carbon Network Fund. (LCNF). The funding can be accessed via the Energy Innovation Centre and investments will be selected by five of the UK’s leading electricity distribution companies Electricity North West, Northern Power Grid, ScottishPower Energy Networks, Scottish and Southern Energy and UK Power Networks. 

Director of the centre, Denise Massey, said: “Becoming a CLG will see no change to the centre’s operation or its objectives.  We will continue to accelerate bright ideas for the energy industry to market, especially in light of the Government’s commitment to a low carbon future. The centre’s success has proved the model has a strong place in the energy innovation marketplace and is testament to EA Technology’s vision back in 2008.

“Since our launch in 2008, EIC has worked with more than 100 SME’s and has created 64 business opportunities with six companies securing a total of £20m in funding.”

Mark Mathieson, Managing Director of Networks at Scottish and Southern Energy said: “Over the last four years the Energy Innovation Centre has proven the model that our Innovation funding can be invested wisely in early stage ideas and to great effect.

“The EIC is developing a model of best practice, accelerating early stage businesses to market and for this reason, for us, the CLG structure is sustainable and now has an increasingly strong role to play for the energy networks generally.”

As a result of the announcement the centre is looking to expand its technical team to deal with the rapidly growing number of enquiries from SMEs and entrepreneurs as awareness of the centre increases and hopes to create two more new companies and 30 new jobs by 2015.