Welsh Secretary of State Alun Cairns has announced £800,000 of UK Government investment into Swansea University's SPECIFIC centre.
The announcement came during a keynote speech at the Policy Forum for Wales event in Swansea yesterday (26 October).in which Mr Cairns called on all partners to “pull together and make the Swansea Bay Region City Deal vision a reality”.
Mr Cairns’ speech forms part of a wider visit to Swansea in which he also announced a £800,000 UK Government-backed investment in Swansea University’s SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre.
The funding, delivered by Innovate UK, will be used to construct the UK’s first energy positive office, capable of generating more energy than it uses.
In March this year, the Secretary of State stood alongside the Prime Minister and local partners to sign the Swansea Bay Region City Deal.
It is a deal which is expected to deliver more than 9,000 jobs and £1.3billion of investment through 11 targeted projects which will see Wales placed front and centre of global science and innovation.
Seven months on since the signing of the agreement, Mr Cairns has urged partners to “push forward to delivery” so that the people of Swansea can start to “see the tangible benefits and investment being made.”
During the speech, he outlined how Swansea is benefiting from the UK Government’s prioritising of its infrastructure investment.
The recent introduction of the bi-mode Intercity Express trains will benefit passengers travelling across South Wales and the Government is also looking at making station improvements in Swansea and at ways to deliver direct services from London through to Pembroke Dock.
He said: “These are exciting times for the Swansea region – not only because the dynamism of the projects that will be delivered through the City Deal, but also through the other investments that are being made in infrastructure that will stand the test of time.
“The UK Government is ambitious for Swansea. That is why we are empowering the area to make the decisions to support the city’s own economic growth, boost employment and attract investment.
“We need to seize the opportunities that are coming Swansea’s way. The potential the region has is immense but it is crucial that all levels of government, private and public sectors work together to drive it forward and make the region the powerhouse of innovation it deserves to be.
The energy-positive office will be manufactured using cutting-edge off-site manufacturing techniques and incorporate cutting edge, innovative energy harvest, storage and release technologies.
The building will be completed by April 2018 and will be occupied immediately by up to 40 members of staff.
SPECIFIC is led by Swansea University and works with more than 50 partners from academia, industry and government to deliver its vision for buildings as power stations.
The Active Office will be linked to the Active Classroom – an existing space which provides teaching space and a laboratory for Swansea University students, as well as a building-scale development facility for SPECIFIC and its industry partners.
Ruth McKernan, chief executive of Innovate UK, said:
“Building the UK’s first office that creates more power than it uses is a significant step, and I’m proud that it is Innovate UK funding that is making it happen.
“The Active Office heralds the future for building design and is a testimony to the fantastic work being done at Swansea University by the SPECIFIC team.
“This flagship demonstration of the ‘buildings as power stations’ concept will draw visitors from around the world and give us a glimpse of the future.”
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