UK Government backs ‘virtual power plant’ platform and robotics research

Battery developers Moixa has secured government funding to expand its flexible energy platform that transforms third-party batteries and electric vehicles (EVs) into "virtual power plants", while the UK Government has also unveiled an £84m fund for robotics and energy innovation.

Moixa secured £267,750 from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Energy Entrepreneurs Fund. The investment will enable the firm to expand its GridShare platform, which can reduce the costs for businesses seeking to generate and source electricity, while simultaneously balancing the supply and demand on grid.

The GridShare platform collects and manages distributed batteries as part of a wider virtual power plant. These aggregated batteries can deliver on demand to the National Grid, local electricity networks and back to utility companies.

According to Moixa, Gridshare will help businesses and homeowners source more renewable electricity as it enters the grid, while the adoption of EVs could be boosted by the platform as it can integrate them into its virtual power plant system.

Moixa’s chief executive Simon Daniel said: “By enabling Gridshare to manage other manufacturers’ batteries we will enhance the value of their products and we will offer utilities a one-stop shop for domestic battery aggregation.

“This will put us well on course towards our 2020 target of aggregating 200MWh of battery capacity to support a low-carbon, cost-effective smart grid.”

More than 90GWh of lithium batteries were manufactured last year, and the Deutsche Bank expects this to rise five-fold in the next 10 years. Moixa has a 2020 target of installing batteries across 50,000 UK homes, and is already working with councils to integrate battery solutions in low-income homes that connect to solar installations.

Moixa is also pioneering a £10.8m project on the Isles of Scilly, which will test how EVs and domestic batteries can integrate into low-carbon energy systems that reduce electricity costs and promote the use of renewables.

Government’s strategy

As part of the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, an extra £14m will be added to the rolling Energy Entrepreneurs Fund to boost competitiveness amongst emerging energy technologies.

Other projects backed by the fund include Good Energy’s online platform, named Selectricity, which allows businesses to reduce their carbon footprint. The peer-to-peer platform matches companies with local renewable energy generators.

As part of the Government’s commitment to energy innovation, it unveiled an £84m fund for artificial intelligence and robotics on Thursday (9 November). The fund is aimed at boosting energy innovation while improving the safety and production of nuclear and offshore energy.

Four hubs located in Manchester, Surrey, Birmingham and Heriot-Watt will be set up through a £45m investment. A further £52m will be added by industry from various commercial and international partners.

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie