The Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) is celebrating another year in which it has driven an increase in both project and investment activity in the sector.

Within the last 12 months, the value of energy innovation investments brokered by EIC has risen to £3.3m from £2.65m in 2012/13. The Centre has also supported a total of 20 new projects and engaged with a growing number of SMEs, 81% of whom were completely new to the sector.

Other key developments in the last financial year include welcoming the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and Amey as new partners, and staging the most successful UK Energy Innovation Awards to date.

The 2014 awards attracted the highest number of entries since it began in 2010. Over 40 projects, technologies and talented individuals from across the UK and USA made the shortlist and over 370 guests, including leading figures from the electricity, gas and offshore renewables sectors, attended the ceremony.

Another milestone for the Energy Innovation Centre is the appointment of Mark Horsley, chief executive officer of Northern Gas Networks as Chairman. Mark, who has 30 years’ experience in the energy industry, took up the position in April on a two year tenure.

The aim of the centre is to work with the UK’s electricity and gas network operators and others to accelerate the discovery, development and deployment of energy innovations to a global market.

Denise Massey, managing director of the Energy Innovation Centre, said: “It really has been a fantastic year. The amount invested has risen by over £650,000 and the volume and quality of projects has increased significantly. Both these outcomes are the strongest indicators yet that the EIC collaborative model is highly effective in creating shared projects that benefit the energy networks, contractors and ultimately, customers. We are delighted to welcome Mark Horsley on board as Chairman, his knowledge of the energy industry will be instrumental in helping us to focus on developing the quality and breadth of our services, which in turn will increase the added value we provide to our customers and industry partners.”

Thanking the outgoing chairman, Mark Horsley, said: “Alan Mullett has done a great job in supporting EIC on its journey this far, helping to shape the organisation and guiding it through the transition from a publicly funded organisation to a limited company. His contribution as Chairman has been significant.” He continued, “During my tenure, I hope to help the EIC to develop its position within the industry, facilitating greater alignment with other industry bodies to enable further opportunities for joined up thinking and closer engagement. The lessons learnt up to this point have taught us that if innovation is to become business as usual, it will take a strong commitment to cooperation and collaboration, both of which can be influenced by the EIC with the full support of the industry.”

The Energy Innovation Centre aims to accelerate the discovery, development and deployment of energy innovations across a global market, with a primary focus on the UK. Since its launch in 2008, the Centre has provided support and access to funding to approximately 200 SMEs from both the UK and internationally.