Energy takes centre stage in UK Industrial Strategy

published its Industrial Strategy, with the key aim of working with the private sector to improve UK productivity.


By Paul Reeve, Director of

Business, Electrical Contractors’ Associaon (ECA).

This was based on “ideas, people, infrastructure, business environment, and prosperous communities”. The Strategy also features “four grand challenges” for what it regards as ‘industries of the future’, which are: uMaximising the

advantages for UK industry from the global shift to clean growth; uBeing a world leader in shaping the future of mobility; uPutting the UK at the forefront of the artificial intelligence and data revolution; and uHarnessing the power of innovation to help meet the needs of an ageing society. These challenges include diversified energy and in particular (though not exclusively) electrical energy. The first two challenges have clear implications for the future of UK energy, and those who operate in this area. The Strategy says that the challenge of “maximising advantages from the global shift to clean growth” will be met by “leading the world in the development,

Along with the 2017 electrical ‘Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan’, a new ‘Prospering from the energy revoluon’ programme also aims to help UK businesses to develop smart energy systems delivering cheaper, low carbon energy.

manufacture and use of low carbon technologies, systems and services that cost less than high carbon alternatives”. The current costs and strike prices of certain types of renewables such as tidal barrages, and nuclear, are still high compared to some alternatives. Yet while nuclear and offshore wind get a good airing in the strategy, tidal barrages and onshore wind do not. The Strategy adds that the UK’s ‘clean economy’, supported by the Paris Carbon Reduction

Commitments, could grow at four times the rate of UK GDP (though UK GDP growth is hardly prodigious at present). Further low carbon progress in power, transport, heating and cooling across the UK economy will, we are told, require the reallocation “of trillions of pounds of public and private finance”. While not all the answers will use electrical energy, it’s clear that many will.

Clean growth and technologies

The UK ‘Clean Growth Strategy’, also sets out ambitious proposals for further low carbon energy progress through the 2020s, aiming to make the UK “one


ast year, the Government

of the best places in the world to develop and sell clean technologies”. In addition to plans to align policies, markets, regulations, taxes and investments to boost the commercialisation of UK energy technology, the Industrial Strategy makes “clean growth innovation” a priority for its Challenge Fund. The Government will also join international initiatives such as ‘Mission Innovation’ – a global partnership for clean energy R&D.

Smart systems

Along with the 2017 electrical ‘Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan’, a new ‘Prospering from the energy revolution’ programme also aims to help UK businesses to develop smart energy systems delivering cheaper, low carbon energy. The aim is to “remodel the grid” to handle the multiple challenges and opportunities of: uA growing array of clean energy sources; uStoring electrical energy; uProviding real-time usage data to buyers and users; uManaging demand; and uSupporting vehicle/grid charging.

Electric vehicles

Meanwhile, the Strategy appears confident that there will be significant growth in zero emission vehicles, and it also seeks to embark on a ‘Future of Mobility’ Grand Challenge. A zero emissions road transport strategy is expected in 2018 and, in addition to ‘Faraday Challenge’ funding for battery technology, there will be further measures to promote the uptake of zero emission vehicles.

Support for sectors

Finally, the Industrial Strategy aims to support the

construction and automotive industries in a shift to clean energy sources and using less environmentally impactful materials. A new ‘Transforming Construction’ programme will harness digital, low carbon and energy-efficient technology. Carbon emissions have been reduced by more than 40% since 1990, while the economy has grown by two-thirds, successfully ‘decoupling’ carbon emissions from economic growth. Once a

sustainability dream, a clean energy future is now within our grasp. Email: BUILDING SERVICES & ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER APRIL 2018 5

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