The government will implement the recommendations of the National Infrastructure Commission, according to the Budget statement.
The National Infrastructure Commission last week urged Decc, Ofgem and National Grid to align the smartgrid building blocks of demand-side response and battery storage together with local grid control. It claimed such an approach would lead to £8bn bill savings by 2030 by ensuring the UK does not have to build as many new power stations. The Commission also said better interconnection with Europe must be prioritised.
Although there is little detail on how those recommendations will be implemented, by backing the Commission’s report the government is mandating major structural change of the energy industry.
One concrete detail is that Treasury will make “at least £50 million” available to support demand-side response, energy storage and other smart energy tech. It will also support up to 9GW of interconnection.
Change and innovation for Ofgem
Meanwhile, according to the Budget Statement, Ofgem will consult on the future of its innovation competition later this year to ensure the projects it is funding start delivering a smarter grid.
The Network Innovation Competition and its predecessor have been praised by industry but have also drawn criticism for lack of drive toward commercialisation.
Ofgem itself could be facing major changes, with its delivery arm, E-Serve, set to be spun off.
Small bucks, small bang?
The Budget also announced a small nuclear reactor competition and £30m in funding to develop small nuclear capability.
See the full Budget Statement here.