As part of its aim to reduce energy costs and to reach targets that will help the UK lead the way in low carbon energy, the government has announced £28 million of funding toward low carbon energy innovations. The money is being made available as part of the governments industrial strategy, which was announced recently.
The green paper detailed the need to find alternative energy sources to ensure that the UK meets its targets for lower carbon emissions, while lowering energy costs for consumers and businesses, and securing UK energy sources into the future.
The initiatives will include investment into offshore wind projects and smart projects, as well as reducing the amount of energy used by industry. The funding is part of the government’s wider support for energy innovation.
Commenting on the new funding, Nick Hurd, the Minister for Climate Change and Industry said:
“Innovation in energy will play an important role to shape our low carbon future to rebuild an outdated energy system. That’s why we’ve increased our financial support, helping to create jobs and opportunities for people across the UK.”
Some of the funding is to be spent on feasibility studies regarding energy storage, while £9 million is being offered to companies if they can offer innovations that will reduce the amount of energy used by UK industry.
No support for solar
The funding has been welcomed by renewable energy groups, however, environmentalists had been hopeful of seeing more support for solar power.
The UK’s solar power industry had already been impacted by a cut in subsidies, which resulted in significant job losses and some firms moving out of the UK. The lack of support for solar in this latest announcement is likely to be greeted with disappointment by environmentalists.
Wind power vs Nuclear
With the use of coal dying out, lower carbon alternatives like wind power and nuclear have been dominating the energy market.
Wind power will receive further investment through this latest round of funding and nuclear power has also received government support. However, one of the biggest concerns is whether either of these alternatives offer the consumer a good deal.
The EDF Hinkley Point C nuclear plant has been given the go ahead but will cost £92.50 per megawatt hour. However, it is argued that this doesn’t give the consumer the best value but could alternatives like wind power could offer consumers a fairer price?
Hugh McNeal of RenewableUK told the Guardian that wind power would reduce energy bills more than nuclear power would, and this a debate that is likely to go on as the UK continues to explore its future energy options.