Government launches new funding measures to target energy storage and AI innovations

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced a range of new funding measures aimed at uncovering cost-competitive energy storage technologies and using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to tackle food waste.

Government launches new funding measures to target energy storage and AI innovations

Figures published by RenewableUK in April last year confirmed that the UK’s energy storage pipeline had surpassed 32GW for the first time, doubling year-on-year

BEIS has announced it is providing £20m through a “Storage at Scale” competition, to help commercialise energy storage projects that would be able to compete with more established technologies. The department is hoping to test three demonstrator projects by 2021 under the competition.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “We are moving to a cleaner, greener economy with renewable generation set to play an integral part of our smarter energy future. Energy storage, which helps store electricity when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining, can help us change the way we power the world for the better.

“That is why, as part of our modern Industrial Strategy, we’re committing £20m to commercialise novel energy storage technology which can provide the right infrastructure for our growing renewables industry.”

All proposals for the competition must be submitted by 26 April 2019.

Agricultural AI assistance

In related news, BEIS is also assisting the use of new technologies, including AI, to help develop solutions to global challenges such as illegal wildlife poaching and increased amounts of food waste.

Around £700,000 will be invested in a world-first “data trust” programme that will be piloted in the UK. The fund will assist organisations including TechHub, WILDLABS and WRAP to exchange crucial data that will lead to solutions for global challenges.

WRAP, for example, will work with UK food and drink firms to track and measure food waste. It is hoped that technological innovations such as AI can be used to develop solutions which then pass on savings to consumers, as well as reducing food-related emissions and water usage.

Business Secretary, Greg Clark, said: “From cutting food waste to tacking illegal wildlife crime, our innovators are working to harness the huge potential of data and artificial intelligence to solve international challenges.

“Our modern Industrial Strategy identifies our unmatched heritage and strength in AI as a huge opportunity for the UK. We are leading the world in its development and use, benefitting from the highly skilled jobs and economic growth this technology creates.”

The scheme will be run by the Open Data Institute and the Government’s Office for Artificial Intelligence.

The scheme launch comes ahead of a speech from Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright, who is set to announce a £30m fund to position the UK as a global leader in socially transformative technology.

AI could unlock almost £170bn in value a year for the food and consumer electronics industries alone by designing out waste by 2030, according to a recent report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Google.

In fact, AI is already being used as a viable solution to certain sustainability challenges. edie has taken a closer look at the AI projects that are delivering on key sustainability aims for corporates. Read the article here.

edie has also developed an explains guide for AI, outlining all the key considerations that businesses must examine when looking to deploy the technology. Click here to find out if AI is right for your business.

Matt Mace

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