Innovation in electricity generation and distribution remains firmly on the agenda, in spite of UK general election

Funding opportunities in edge-of-grid and storage technologies remain positive as the UK government provides an indication of its post-election energy 'innovation' agenda. In a recent statement, the UK government committed to investing £246 million in clean and flexible energy technology over 4 years as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). The funds will be administered through government's innovation body, "Innovate UK".

Ofgem has also stepped up its networks innovation programme by now requiring distribution and transmission network operators (DNOs and TNOs) to develop and implement an internal "Electricity Network Innovation Strategy". This is the implementation of Ofgem's decision at the end of March to make to make certain changes to support the Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) and the Network Innovation Competition (NIC) schemes. Although third party companies are not able to access funding through these schemes directly, partnering with network operators under these sort of programmes is expected to present increasing opportunities for grid technology companies and innovative developers.

These two announcements are a demonstration of the UK government's continued focus on grappling with the difficulties resulting from decentralised generation and changing consumer demand. As this trend continues, we expect the opportunities for companies operating in energy markets to derive income from non-traditional sources will continue to open up.  Technologically-savvy developers will be able to harness both increasing volatility in energy markets and higher demand from network operators in dealing with stretched grid infrastructure. While the UK government's policies will undoubtedly shift over the coming years, the realities of the UK's energy landscape mean that there will be plenty of opportunities for those looking to invest across the entire electricity supply chain.

Ashfords LLP's Energy & Waste team has significant experience in assisting organisations operating in and looking to invest in the energy industry, with the ability to draw on the expertise of practitioners in Projects, Corporate, Technology, Real Estate and Construction. 

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