Offshore wind and energy storage included in UK strategy

UK: The UK government has released a new plan to tackle an underlying infrastructure and skills gap to drive growth in the UK, with offshore wind, energy efficiency and energy storage playing a part.

Offshore wind will continue to play a role in the UK's industrial strategy

The industrial strategy plan was released by the UK government for consultation yesterday.

As part of the plan, the government will look to deliver "affordable energy and clean growth... to keep costs down for business, and secure the economic benefits of the transition to a low-carbon economy".

To achieve this, the government said it would release a roadmap in 2017.

This will be informed by a review of decarbonisation, which will include "how best to support greater energy efficiency, the scope to use existing instruments to support further reductions in the cost of offshore wind once current commitments have been delivered, and how government can best work with regulator Ofgem to ensure markets and networks operate as efficiently as possible in a low-carbon system".

Wind received little mention elsewhere, but the plan provides hope to the sector that the government will continue to support the growing offshore wind capacity in the UK beyond the next contracts for difference auction, scheduled for this year.

The government said it would also "review the case" for a research institution to focus on batteries, energy storage and grid technologies.

Despite only a small mention of green energy, trade body RenewableUK welcomed the strategy plan.

"The prime minister has taken a bold step by focusing specifically on innovative new industries where the UK is leading the world, and which are challenging the old order. That's exactly what our wind, wave and tidal energy industries are doing by delivering affordable energy and clean growth — key pillars which Theresa May has set out in her bold vision for modern Britain," said RenewableUK's executive director Emma Pinchbeck.

"Our offshore wind and marine energy industries are the envy of the rest of the world, with economic benefits being reaped around the UK from the shipyards of Liverpool to the banks of the Humber to the waters of Orkney. The global renewable energy market is worth $290 billion a year, so it's crucial that the final industrial strategy provides a strong sector deal for our wind and marine technologies," Pinchbeck added.

"It's encouraging that the huge opportunities presented by offshore wind, energy storage and smart grids are recognised in the strategy," said Scottish Renewables director of policy Jenny Hogan.

Elsewhere in the plan, Siemens UK chief executive Juergen Maier has been asked to lead a review of another part of the strategy, industrial digitalisation.

"The industrial digitalisation review will identify the impacts of digitalisation across UK industrial sectors and how government working in partnership with industry can maximise the opportunities from driving digitalisation," Maier said.

"We aim to make proposals later this year for an industrial digitalisation sector deal. I am delighted to lead this important piece of work on behalf of industry, which aims to benefit as many people, and businesses across the UK as possible," he added.