The Government is poised to invest £246 m in battery technology that it says will be a key pillar in helping to power its industrial strategy.
In its first major move to support the nascent battery revolution, the Government will set up a “battery institute” to award hundreds of millions of pounds to companies on the brink of major research and development breakthroughs.
Greg Clarke, the business secretary, is travelling to Birmingham today to deliver his first public address on the Government’s industrial strategy since the snap general election. He is set to underline the importance of “cutting -edge energy plans”, which include battery power and electric, driverless vehicles.
Mr Clarke is expected to say that the Government’s co-ordinated programme of battery funding competitions, dubbed the Faraday Challenge, “will – quite literally – power the automotive and energy revolution.”
The challenge is one of six pillars supporting the UK’s industrial strategy which could help unlock markets and industries of the future.
The rapidly falling cost of battery power is expected to radically change the way Britain is able to make use of its renewable energy generation, by storing excess wind and solar for when wind speeds slip and sunshine wanes.
Battery technology is already ushering in major upheaval for automotive industries and fuel retailers by accelerating the boom in electric vehicles.
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.
The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy has received almost 2,000 responses to its consultation on the new industrial roadmap and will respond in a white paper later this year.