Government unveils Industrial Strategy for clean growth

The newly published Industrial Strategy White Paper promises to drive clean growth through investment in innovation. It's hoped this will deliver cost reduction to businesses and the wider economy.

The paper follows from the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Green Paper which outlined its initial plans for industrial development back in January.

The White Paper has put forward a number of priority areas to achieve clean energy growth but it is lacking in detail to bring necessary stability for businesses to make future investment decisions.

Record boost for R&D to lead clean growth

The Government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper promises to give a record boost to innovation and R&D. It has committed to develop smart energy systems affordably across power, heating, and transport sectors. BEIS has also promised to launch a new ‘Prospering from the energy revolution’ programme which will aim to develop the market for local smart energy systems. This will build on the rollout of smart meters to grow the market for more flexible sources to store energy and manage demand. Up to £8.8m will be available as part of the Non-Domestic Smart Energy Management Competition for innovative approaches using smart meter data for small business sites. A new sector deal for Artificial Intelligence (AI) has also been agreed to advance the use of big data and boost productivity of data analytic technologies.

The Industrial Strategy aims to support the development of new technologies to integrate construction, digital energy and efficiency technologies. The new Industrial Strategy ‘Transforming Construction’ will explore the advantages of developing more affordable places for households and businesses which use less energy to build and run.

The paper has also revealed that the Government is in advanced talks for a Nuclear Sector Deal to support new generation. Details of ongoing discussions are expected in the coming weeks.

A new scheme to support investment in industrial energy efficiency is to be set up. This will be designed to help energy intensive industries to install measures in order to cut their energy use. A £162m of innovation funding was announced for low carbon industry, and developing a new strategy for the bio-economy.

Additional measures which BEIS vows to take action on include replacing the Common Agricultural Policy with increased incentives for sustainable agriculture, and setting global standards for finance that supports clean growth.

Smart mobility

Separately, the White Paper has reconfirmed support for transport following last week’s Budget announcements. The Industrial Strategy has promised to establish a flexible regulatory framework to encourage new models of transport including self-driving cars. A strategy on government support for the transition to zero emission road transport is also expected to be published in the coming months.

Long-term plans

Long-term, there are plans for minimising business energy costs through further supporting innovation through the Industrial Strategy Challenge fund, negotiation of further Sector Deals, and implementation of the 2050 Decarbonisation Action Plans.

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