The industrial strategy and a new age of innovation
The UK government released its industrial strategy at the end of December. The document laid out the country’s plan to create an economy that boosts productivity and earning power. Simon Daniel, CEO and co-founder of Moixa, provides his four key thoughts on the strategy.
- Smart energy island
Energy is a key focus of the strategy, particularly under Brexit where the UK is politically and electrically unplugging from Europe.
The strategy should be seen as the UK forging its path towards becoming a smart energy island. We need to balance increasing renewable and electric vehicle adoption – with peaks likely to exceed 100GW in the future – with only 4GW of interconnects to Europe.
- Batteries for balancing
Batteries will be essential to balancing the electricity system storing clean renewable energy generated at times of low demand and supplying it to the grid during the peak. Millions of electric vehicle batteries will provide a huge new reservoir of flexible capacity.
Moixa has pioneered systems to manage clusters of home batteries and electric vehicles to form virtual power plants, which can deliver valuable services to support the electricity network. We are developing a platform to manage home batteries and EVs for the £10.8m Smart Energy Island project on Isle of Scilly (which features as a case study on page 146 of the industrial strategy).
Batteries are included in many parts of industrial strategy. The UK’s historic and current innovation excellence in chemistry, new graphene and battery cell innovation, new electric vehicle innovation and business models, plus policy freedom have the potential to make it one of the first countries to seize the opportunities of the storage revolution.
- New age of innovation
The focus on electricity innovation and new models is key in the industrial strategy. This will be aided by regulatory freedom and deregulated markets enabling demand-side response (DSR), virtual power plants and smart business models to be pioneered across the UK.
We attended a Mansion House dinner with Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, last autumn with many other energy entrepreneurs, to appeal for a new Industrial Age of Innovation.
- Export potential
Smart energy also has major export potential. I spoke at the energy storage summit in Japan last month on lessons being learnt from UK smart grids. If we get this right then many other island nations and smart cities stand to benefit from what we build and perfect in the UK.