Following on from the EU referendum last year and the resulting vote for Britain to leave the EU, a question mark remained over whether or not our economy would suffer in the short, medium and long terms. A key area that required addressing was research and development whereby Britain had joined forces with the rest of Europe for both private and EU funded programmes. Today, the government have released a Green paper outlining its plan for the industrial future of the country.
Underpinning the strategy is not simply a direction for businesses to get on with things, but it outlines the hands on support that the government will provide. It aims to establish an industrial strategy for the long term but with benefits that can be felt immediately. The strategy is made up of ten pillars including: research and innovation; affordable energy and driving growth across the entire country.
Secure, reliable and efficient energy will always be near the top of an agenda when looking at Industrial strategies, largely caused by an ageing infrastructure and environmental challenges. The UK’s energy strategy will have a significant impact on all of the above pillars.
Delivering Afforable Energy & Clean Growth
The first pillar to address is to deliver affordable energy and clean growth. This Industrial Evolution will not be an Industrial Revolution of old, as we have become more committed to ensuring that we leave the planet in a good condition to our future generations, and not abuse the fuels that are available to us.
Actions underway to achieve this pillar are to limit policy costs on energy bills, doubled support for energy innovation and installing interactive smart meters to the domestic market. SMS are key in all of these areas through our Procurement, R&D and Metering divisions.
Going forward, the Government will set out a long term roadmap in 2017 to minimise the effect of the predicted increases in energy prices and consumption management will be a key strategy.
The review will cover energy efficiency, the scope to support further reductions in the cost of offshore wind and how the Government can best work with Ofgem to ensure markets and networks operate as efficiently as possible. They will also publish their Emissions Reduction Plan during 2017, providing long-term certainty for investors.
Finally, they will review the case for a new research institution to act as a focal point for work on battery technology, energy storage and grid technology, reporting in early 2017. An area which SMS are currently researching and developing.
Research & Innovation
Focusing on Research & Innovation, SMS plc have developed many energy related products, offers and services to a constantly evolving marketplace, and have also been involved in a number of EU projects. Two current projects are Mas2tering and SABINA which both address the future of the energy infrastructure.
Mas2tering is an acronym (of sorts) for ‘Multi-Agent Systems and Secured coupling of Telecom and Energy Grids for Next Generation smart grid services’. This rather long winded description is in essence the design and development of an integrated ICT platform for the monitoring and optimal management of local communities of prosumers – to be tested at 3 ‘Use Case’ levels.
UC1 (individual prosumer) focuses on lowering the family energy bill through in-home optimisation including load shifting, self-consumption of RES and energy storage. Inputs and outputs include ToU tariffs, feed in tariffs, weather data and integration of smart appliances that can be controlled by the Internet of Things. Other use cases consider exchange of flexibility within the local community to lower the community energy bill and integration with the LV grid to both lower energy bills and facilitate network capacity management.
SMS is leading this project on platform design, supervision and monitoring of all demonstration activities - and their assessment and wider uptake. Also contributing in other areas includes business model development and exploitation activities.
SABINA is an acronym for Smart Bi-directional multi energy gateway. The objective is to develop new technology and financial models to connect, control and actively manage generation and storage assets to exploit synergies between electrical flexibility and the thermal inertia of buildings. Excess electricity from renewables can be converted to electrical energy to heat or cold and storing it using the thermal inertia of buildings (or other storage mechanisms). The provision for aggregation at district level will be provided to maximise the effect of SABINA.
SMS is an industrial partner in a consortium comprising of leading academic and technology institutions across Europe. SMS are leading on development of the system specification and requirements and are also task leaders for exploitation activities to develop a route to market for the SABINA solution.
As the new era in a Post Brexit Britain emerges, Research & Innovation will clearly move within the UK’s boundaries, and as such Government led bodies like Innovate UK will be tasked with making things happen. SMS already work with the ‘Energy Systems Catapult’, a group that is part of Innovate UK, whose role is to sponsor and support entrepreneurial companies to catapult their innovations into the market.
Key innovations that we are involved in tackles another one of the pillars, namely infrastructure. Short term energy reserves and self-generation are key to the UK’s energy strategy as demand begins to exceed supply. Nuclear Power at Hinckley Point may resolve the base load requirements, but peak loads will need to be addressed by other means. Solutions include load flattening through self-generation and battery storage, an approach that will reap dividends in energy price strategies.
For further information about this article or our energy services, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team on 02920 739 540 or email us and we'll call you back.