Battery challenge sparks a reaction

By Farnham Herald in Community News

AN Alton community group at the forefront of moves to establish a low-carbon economy has welcomed a £246m govenment investment in battery technology.

Energy Alton chairman John Hubbard, says battery storage is “the next key improvement.”

The group is supporting community energy projects locally. It said: “Thanks to the efforts of leading companies across the world, rapidly falling costs are creating the potential for clean renewable energy (from wind, solar and tidal sources) to become the main means of generating electricity.

“On some days in the UK, more electricity is generated from renewable sources than from coal and gas.

Carbon emissions are falling, reducing the likelihood of dangerous climate change. Air pollution is reduced too. But better ways of storing renewable energy are badly needed.

“We agree with RenewableUK that the Government must provide the vision and support to enable rapid development of storage technology. The Faraday Challenge is a start. We hope for more and quickly.”

Business Secretary Greg Clark launched the mulit-million-pound Faraday Challenge – which aims to to boost expertise in battery technology on July 24 – and it has been heralded by trade association, RenewableUK, as “the starting gun for the UK to become the world-leader in innovative battery storage technology.”

Speaking at the Resolution Foundation in Birmingham on Monday, July 24, Mr Clark explained that the first phase of Industrial Strategy’s landmark ‘Faraday Challenge’ is to establish a centre for battery research to make technology more accessible and affordable. Energy Alton The Faraday Challenge, a four-year investment, is a key part of the government’s

industrial strategy. It will deliver a coordinated

programme of competitions that will aim to boost both the research and development of expertise in battery technology.

An overarching Faraday Challenge Advisory Board will be established to ensure the coherence and impact of the challenge. The board will be chaired by Professor Richard Parry-Jones, a senior engineering leader with many decades of senior automotive industry experience and recently chaired the UK Automotive Council for six years.

Alongside the first £45m funding phase for scaling up battery technologies the Government also plans to make £25m of funding available to developers of self-driving vehicles.

Separately the energy regulator, Ofgem, is expected to outline a new approach to its charging regime for power storage devices so that batteries can play a bigger role in balancing the electricity system.

Commenting on the initiative, RenewableUK executive director Emma Pinchbeck said: “Today is the starting gun for the UK to become the world-leader in innovative battery storage technologies.

“The energy sector agrees that a clean, flexible and modern energy system is the future, a future which relies on a clear vision from Government, working in partnership with businesses.

“Renewables are a mainstream technology, reliably providing over 25% of our electricity. The advent of battery storage is the missing puzzle piece which will allow us to maximise the potential of our world-beating renewable energy resources here in the UK.”

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