Building a Britain Fit for the Future?

The UK’s new “Industrial Strategy” was published last week. The last time we had a good look at UK plc’s strategy was three years ago, when we concluded that “it rather sounds as though ‘Storage to Grid’ (or S2G for short) is a more likely prospect here in the United Kingdom than fully fledged V2G”. So how about this year?

The foreword by Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business,Energy and Industrial Strategy (or BEIS for short), states that:

This Industrial Strategy deliberately strengthens the five foundations of productivity: innovation, people, infrastructure, places and the business environment.

At the very least “innovation” and “infrastructure” sound like the sort of things we get up to here at V2G UK. Here’s how Gov.UK visualises our future infrastructure:


Moving on, Greg continues:

As well as setting a path to improved productivity, our Industrial Strategy sets out four areas where Britain can lead the global technological revolution. These four Grand Challenges – in artificial intelligence and big data; clean growth; the future of mobility; and meeting the needs of an ageing society – have been identified on the advice of the our leading scientists and technologists. They will be supported by investment from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and matched by commercial investment.

There’s a video explaining the ISCF:

There’s even a video summarising each of the Grand Challenges. Electric vehicles get a mention in the one about mobility:

We’ve previously touched on the Government’s new “clean growth” strategy on the V2G blog, and obviously we’re inordinately interested in the “future of mobility”, so there really should be something of interest to us in the 131 page white paper. Let’s delve a little deeper shall we? Under the “infrastructure” heading we’re told that:

Our approach is to undertake a comprehensive package of measures to promote the uptake of zero emission vehicles. We have announced a further £100m for the plug-in car grant to incentivise the purchase of battery electric vehicles, and we are committing to 25 per cent of the cars in central government department fleets being electric by 2022. We are announcing an additional £200m of public investment, to be matched by private investment, to create a new £400m Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund, and we will regulate to support further expansion of the charging infrastructure network.

That certainly sounds like very good news for our Camelford electric car club project! What’s more:

After the Grenfell Review, we will update building regulations to mandate that all new residential developments must contain the enabling cabling for charge-points in the homes. We will also provide £40m to support new technologies for on-street and wireless charging.

All of which sounds like very good news for our SaMDES project which envisages installing static battery storage and V2G charging stations in homes and small businesses across the South West of England. The news gets even better! A little further on we discover:

The zero emission road transport strategy, to be published in the coming months, and work on the options for the long-term decarbonisation of heating will build on this. They will support the growth of markets for technologies that create synergies between systems, such as energy storage, smart meters, vehicle-to-grid charging and heat networks.

Will the sweet music to our ears never stop? Not for the moment at least. Next we discover that:

We are determined to tackle air pollution and support affected areas, given the significant negative impact it has on public health, the economy and the environment. We will provide £220m for a new Clean Air Fund that will allow local authorities in England with the most challenging pollution problems to help individuals and businesses adapt as measures to improve air quality are implemented. This new fund is in addition to the £255m provided to implement the Air Quality plan earlier this year.

That sounds like more potential assistance for Camelford due to the town’s Air Quality Management Area status. Moving on once more, regular readers will be aware that we are proponents of energy efficiency. “Negawatts not Megawatts!” we cried when the predecessor to BEIS pulled the plug on zero carbon homes a couple of years ago. Will they make amends now? Unfortunately not really. There are a couple of sentences to the effect that:

In the more immediate term, energy efficiency and reforms to the retail energy market will provide the opportunity to lower bills. Up to £6bn could be saved in 2030 through investment in cost effective energy saving technologies in the industrial and commercial sector.

We will encourage greater investment in energy efficiency measures and technologies, including by developing a new scheme to support investment in industrial energy efficiency, to help large businesses install measures that will cut their energy use and bills, as we as improve their productivity.

Plus there’s:

We want to support greater collaboration between councils, a more strategic approach to planning housing and infrastructure, more innovation and high quality design in new homes and creating the right conditions for new private investment.

From where I’m sat I’m afraid that’s not a patch on “the proposed 2016 increase in on-site energy efficiency standards” that bit the dust in 2015. The white paper contains some great news if you’re into decarbonising transport, as we most certainly are. However unfortunately reducing the energy wasted by the UK’s poorly insulated housing stock, both old and new, still seems to be very much on UK plc’s back burner.

It seems as though we still have a long wait in store before homes like this will be constructed as a matter of urgency:


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