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Upgrading our energy system and battery technology announcements

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 9th August 2017

The government recently unveiled plans for a more flexible energy system and £246m of funding for battery research. This will have a major impact on the way we generate and consume electricity, manage our electricity networks and use transport. The government’s aim is to ensure that a smarter grid will help keep energy bills low for consumers.

Upgrading our energy system

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Ofgem have recently set out plans to upgrade our energy systems by putting consumers in control. The plan will deliver a smarter more flexible energy system by removing barriers to smart technology, reducing costs for consumers giving households and businesses greater control over their energy use.

The ‘Upgrading our energy system report’ explains how the UK energy system is changing and how it can ensure economic benefits for households and businesses. Currently over a quarter of the UK’s electricity is being generated through renewable energy such as solar and wind with most of it located close to our homes and businesses.

New technologies that help store and manage energy are emerging and these changes will provide a great opportunity to create new jobs and business opportunities.

New smart technologies like smart meters and appliances that can be controlled by your mobile phone, together with other improvements to manage the energy system will help the country save up to £40bn on the UK’s energy costs over decades to come.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “Upgrading our energy system to make sure it is fit for the future is a key part of our Industrial Strategy. A smarter energy system will create opportunities to reduce energy costs, increase productivity and put UK businesses in a leading position to export smart energy technology and services to the rest of the world".

Investments in battery technology

With the growing popularity of electric cars it is estimated that 50% of vehicles produced by 2030 will be either electric or plug-in hybrid electric and it is likely that future generations will be using vehicles with batteries as their primary source of energy.

The Business and Energy Secretary, Greg Clark, recently announced that the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will invest £246 million into battery technology. This investment will go towards ensuring that the UK leads the way in the design, development and manufacture of electric batteries and is likely to have particular benefits in the automotive sector and renewable energy.

Known as the ‘Faraday Challenge’ this 4-year investment will form part of the governments Industrial Strategy to deliver a co-ordinated programme of competitions that aims to boost both the research and development of expertise in battery technology.

These competitions will be divided into 3 streams; research, innovation and scale-up, all designed to drive the UK’s world-leading research into market-ready technology to ensure economic success for the UK. An overarching Faraday Challenge Advisory Board will be established to oversee the challenge, chaired by Professor Richard Parry-Jones, a senior engineering leader.

The three competition streams are:

Research: To support world class research and training in battery materials, technologies and manufacturing processes, the Government has opened a £45m competition, led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), to bring the best minds and facilities together to create a virtual Battery Institute. The successful consortium of universities will be responsible for undertaking research looking to address the key industrial challenges in this area.

Innovation: The most promising research completed by the Institute will be moved closer to the market through collaborative research and development competitions, led by Innovate UK. The initial competitions will build on the best of current world-leading science already happening in the UK and helping make the technology more accessible for UK businesses.

Scale-up: To further develop the real-world use and application of battery technology the Government has opened a competition, led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre, to identify the best proposition for a new state-of-the-art open access National Battery Manufacturing Development facility.

Electric Vehicle Charging Point

With the recent announcement banning the sale of new diesel and petrol cars in the UK from 2040 amid concerns that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health, the government has made a commitment to a clean air plan, which they say is needed because of the unnecessary and avoidable impact that poor air quality is having on people’s health. It is said that the air pollution outside and inside the home causes at least 40,000 premature deaths a year.

The recent Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill will allow the Government to require the installation of charge points for electric vehicles at motorway service areas and large fuel retailers. This is great news for electric vehicle owners as many more garages across the UK will have to provide forecourt charging facilities.

This in turn, is great news for electricians, as it will allow them to train as an electric vehicle charging point installer offering them an additional income stream.

If you are interested in becoming an Electric Vehicle Charging Point Installer, Trade Skills 4U offers the C&G 2919-01 Electric Car/Vehicle Charging Point Installer Course, which can be booked on-line using our course page, alternatively if you would like to speak to a course adviser please call 01293 529777 or 0800 856448.

Categories: electric vehicles, battery technology, energy system, smart systems