Clean energy made central tenant of industrial strategy
Smart electricity gridThe government wants to embrace new technology to use resources more efficiently, by taking a whole system approach to the energy market. Focusing on local, smart energy grids, the government aims to improve electricity storage and demand management to become a world leader in smart energy technology. Developments are expected to feed into improvements in green heating and transport. Notably, improvements in electricity storage will bolster Britain’s electric vehicle (EV) credentials. The government has already promised to spend £400 million on EV charging infrastructure. “Smart systems can link energy supply, storage and use, and join up power, heating and transport to increase efficiency dramatically. By developing these world-leading systems in the UK, we can cut bills while creating high-value jobs for the future,” the policy document states.
Sector dealsA key part of Business Secretary Greg Clark’s plan to boost the economy will see the government agree several ‘sector deals’ in different industries. These sector deals provide taxpayer support and policy collaboration on major issues such as automation and training. It avoids charges of ‘picking winners’ by asking different sectors to suggest and lead on new ideas. The approach builds on the government’s success with the Automotive Council, which has been boosted British car making over the last decade. Construction is understood to be close to fleshing out their own sector deal, while the government is making progress on a life sciences deal and an artificial intelligence deal. On the day the government announced the new industrial strategy, they also announced two new deals to invest in the UK’s biotech industry. Two pharmaceutical companies committed to new research centres in London and Manchester. Business minister Greg Clark said it represented “a huge vote of confidence” in the government’s approach. But some industry watchers were critical of the government, suggesting that although they recognised clean growth as one of the key challenges and opportunities in the economy going forwards, they had not committed to a sector deal for the clean energy sector.
Clean energy companies have made remarkable strides in recent years, not least with offshore wind power, intelligent demand response systems and the smart energy grid. If the government does not help the sector grow, supporting it in the same way that it supports other key sectors, then they risk not making the most of all this progress.
The UK's new #IndustrialStrategy has 4 "grand challenges"*AI *Clean Growth *Mobility *Ageing society …and 4 "sector deals" *Life sciences *Construction *AI *Automotive Clean growth ≠ construction sector — Simon Evans (@DrSimEvans) November 27, 2017
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