Energy storage and the UK industrial strategy: what’s next? – by Ian Larive (Energy Storage News – May 17, 2017)

When UK prime minister Theresa May announced there would be a general election on 8 June, you could forgive the public a weary sigh at the thought of a third trip to the ballot box in as many years. And you could forgive those of us in the battery storage sector for wondering whether an election campaign might slow the industry’s momentum.

After all, the ink has barely dried on an industrial strategy that, amongst its numerous pillars, set lofty goals for the development of battery storage capacity in the UK, committing the country to innovation and becoming a world leader.

Could the election campaign mean that impetus was lost ahead of Brexit negotiations that would dominate the political space, while possibly reducing access to electricity from the continent, making storage capacity with the UK grid more vital?

Not if the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS’) announcement of the ‘Faraday Challenge’ is anything to go by, with the launch of a £250 million (US$324.35 million) competition to develop battery storage technologies and batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) – focusing on innovation rather than continuing to support existing products.

This investment should be welcomed for two reasons. Firstly, the financial impetus will inevitably drive further developments in the sector. But secondly because it shows the seriousness with which the pillars of the industrial strategy are being pursued. And, irrespective of the outcome of the election, it is imperative that level of commitment is maintained after 8 June.

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