£41.5m energy innovation fund announced

Innovate UK has pledged £41.5m for new business models that intelligently link supply, storage and demand in heating, power and transport.

The fund is split in two, with up to £40m available for three smart energy system demonstrators, and a further £1.5m available for studies into new, smarter approaches to local energy.

InnovateUK says demand to meet carbon reduction targets and the emergence of new technologies including artificial intelligence, internet of things and sensing and machine learning are ‘creating new opportunities for smart energy systems.’

The competition will help businesses to develop local energy approaches at scale which they hope will create ‘better outcomes for consumers and promote economic growth for the UK.’

By the early 2020s, Innovate UK aims to prove that smarter local energy systems can deliver cleaner and cheaper energy services.

Successful projects will be supported by an energy integration network including the Energy Systems Catapult leading researchers and government and independent regulatory bodies.

Demonstration projects must be based in a large UK location such as a medium-sized town and show how they could:

  • optimise energy across a range of supplies, infrastructure and demands
  • deliver lower costs, lower emissions and economic benefit
  • intelligently link energy supply and demand
  • develop processes and skills for designing, financing, building and operating smart local energy systems
  • encourage private investment to replicate these impacts across the UK

Studies into new smart, energy systems must show how by the early 2020s they could:

  • reduce energy bills by at least 25% and reduce carbon emissions in line with targets
  • produce high-value local jobs and local and export business opportunities
  • improve energy security and make the UK more resilient to environmental, technological, social and economic change
  • improve energy efficiency and infrastructure productivity
  • meet air quality targets
  • create ways to test and scale new technologies and business, consumer and regulatory models to speed up industry growth

The best projects will be invited to develop their ideas further in a future competition.

The competition is open, and the deadline for applications is at midday on July 25 2018.

Find out more about the fund here.

Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

Journalist. Follow him on Twitter

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