Industrial strategy strives to cut business energy costs

The government has pledged to set out a “long-term road map” to cut businesses’ energy costs this year in its wide-ranging industrial strategy, published today.

The green paper, titled ‘Building Our Industrial Strategy’ sets out a ‘ten pillar’ approach to boosting the UK’s manufacturing performance, one of which is delivering clean but affordable energy.

To help achieve this goal, the paper commits the government to setting out a “long-term road map to minimise business energy costs” in 2017.

In order to inform this exercise, the government has commissioned a review of how to reduce the cost of decarbonising the UK’s power and industrial sectors.

This review will explore the most effective mechanisms for supporting greater energy efficiency and cutting the cost of offshore wind once current commitments have been delivered. It will also probe how the government and Ofgem can ensure markets and networks operate as efficiently as possible in a low-carbon system.

Alongside its review of business energy costs, the discussion document says the government will publish an Emissions Reduction Plan later this year.

The discussion document also says that a newly created Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will support storage and demand response grid technologies. The Industrial Strategy Challenge is designed to support technologies where the UK has the potential to take an industrial lead, from early research to commercialisation.

And the government has asked its chief scientific adviser Mark Walport, to review the case for a new research institution to provide a focal point for studying battery technology, energy storage and grid technology.

Walport is due to report in the early part of this year on the case for the new institute which is designed to turn the UK into a global leader in battery technology, building on what the paper describes on Britain’s underlying strengths in the field.

Commenting on the industrial strategy paper Open Energi director of public policy Lucy Symons said:“The UK has a thriving energy technology sector demonstrating world-leading innovation, but unleashing the potential of this dynamic sector requires a policy environment fit for purpose. We’re pleased to welcome the pillars set out in the government’s Industrial Strategy today, in particular its commitment to cultivate world-leading sectors.

“The need to challenge existing institutions and incumbents is nowhere more true than the energy sector, and pioneering companies like Open Energi need a level playing field on which to compete. A move towards freer markets will enable digital innovators to demonstrate how technology can transform our industries and deliver long-term benefits for Britain.”

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