It has been a quietly significant week for the UK energy industry and its ambitious decarbonisation plans. On Monday, Theresa May again highlighted the importance of climate action to the British economy, hailing it as “one of the greatest industrial opportunities of our time” while announcing a new target to halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030. A day later a major new player in the UK’s energy market exited stealth mode, unveiling plans to build the world’s largest network of energy storage systems and electric vehicle fast charging stations. The long-awaited convergence of the energy and transport systems – a vision now being pursued by many of the UK’s best known energy firms – has yet another credible challenger in the form of Pivot Power. Then, yesterday, the government officially launched a new £102.5m R&D network under the banner of the “energy revolution challenge”. The consortium of R&D bodies is now poised to launch a series of strategic low carbon energy research projects and funding schemes as it seeks to support the development of “local, investable, consumer-centred energy approaches to create prosperous clean energy communities”. What do these announcements have in common? They all suggest the UK’s clean energy transition is fast approaching a turning point where the clean tech innovation and integration that green business leaders and campaigners have been predicting for the best part of a decade finally enters the mainstream. As such, the energy sector is poised to both accelerate the roll out of low cost, established clean power sources, and start to tackle the complex challenges presented by smart grids and heat decarbonisation. Meanwhile, study after study has shown that decarbonising heat remains a huge challenge. This week a new report from Element Energy and E4tech that was commissioned by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) was added to the canon of green heat research, providing further evidence that while heat decarbonisation is possible it faces significant technical challenges and requires hefty investment.
Business Green 24th May 2018 read more »