Battery storage tech will be the biggest beneficiary of a £1 billion government investment in innovation, with leading businesses already exploring their potential.
Over the next four years, the government has announced that it will provide £246 million “to ensure the UK leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of batteries” for energy storage and electric vehicles.
The funding comes from the new £1 billion Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, first announced in the 2017 Spring Budget.
The funding will focus on six key areas: healthcare and medicine; robotics and artificial intelligence; batteries for clean and flexible energy storage; self-driving vehicles; manufacturing and materials of the future; and satellites and space technology.
However, battery storage will receive by far the most money over the next four years.
Announcing the funding on 21 April, Greg Clark, business, energy and industrial strategy secretary, said: “The UK is home to some of the world’s best innovators at the very forefront of global excellence.
“The funding I am announcing today, providing hundreds of millions of pounds of support to develop the next generation of technologies across a range of sectors, shows our determination and commitment to making sure the UK remains at the very forefront of research innovation for years to come.”
Energy storage is fast becoming a topic of conversation for leading companies and has previously been described as the “nail in the coffin” for conventional utilities.
As well as being used in electric vehicles, batteries will also be particularly beneficial for businesses aiming to be more flexible in their energy usage to avoid peak charges on bills.
For example, global retail giant Walmart has put plans in place to use energy storage to streamline its approach to achieving its target of powering 50 per cent of its operations with renewable energy by 2025.
It has already agreed a deal to combine 40MWh of energy storage systems at 27 of its stores with renewable energy technologies to reduce dependence on the energy grid.