UK considers new research institute to make the country a world leader in batteries
The Government is expected early next week to publish its Modern Industrial Strategy proposals, designed to make a reality of Theresa May's slogan to ensure the UK is a global success story "that works for everyone".
Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Mark Walport is reviewing review options for a new institute to act as a focal point for work on cutting edge battery technology – seen as crucial across a range of sectors including electric cars – energy storage and grid technology, sources said.
The announcement came after it was revealed dozens of homes in a village will have batteries installed to create a "virtual power plant", in a trial that aims to boost solar power.
Some 40 council homes in Oxspring, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire, are to get the battery technology to see if it can help increase the capacity of the electricity network and enable more homes to install solar panels.
The Government is expected to publish its Modern Industrial Strategy proposals next week
The £250,000 trial's backers say households with solar panels and batteries can halve their electricity bills, helping tackle fuel poverty – but grid constraints can prevent widespread roll-out of solar power without expensive upgrades.
Domestic solar panels generate electricity for the home, or export it to the grid if it is not needed by the household, which can put a strain on existing networks.
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Battery technology is seen as crucial across a range of sectors including electric cars
Batteries provide an alternative by storing power when solar panels are generating electricity but it is not needed and then supplying it to homes when required for lighting and appliances.
The scheme aims to allow households to use more locally-produced clean energy and show clusters of batteries can reduce peak amounts of solar power going into the network when demand is low.