New plans to strengthen tech ties between UK and Japan

Today the UK and Japan have unveiled details of a new digital partnership to turbocharge their joint working in an era of increasing global competition on tech and data.

The UK and Japan are modern tech powerhouses, with combined IT sectors worth more than £406 billion. The newly launched partnership will develop the unique strengths of both countries and deliver on the UK’s ambition, set out in this year’s Digital Strategy, to increase international collaboration on complex tech issues.

The partnership will structure engagement between the UK and Japanese governments on a range of digital issues, including how to improve the resilience of globally significant supply chains such as semiconductors and telecommunications. The countries will develop joint research and development initiatives to share expertise about these vital technologies.

The UK and Japan will strengthen foundations for trade and investment between their tech economies and make it easier for businesses to operate in both countries by aligning approaches to digital regulation.

Improving cyber resilience is a priority for the partnership, which will see the UK and Japan promote initiatives to standardise the security of internet-connected products and apps and address the risks of digital services in supply chains.

Collaboration between the UK’s data regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), and Japanese regulators will be supported through the partnership to give businesses and citizens greater certainty about the security of data sharing between both countries.

At the centre of the partnership will be the UK-Japan Digital Council, an annual meeting between ministers from the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and representatives from the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Digital Agency to drive forward new priorities.

UK Digital Secretary Michelle Donelan said:

The UK’s relationship with Japan has grown from strength to strength in recent years based on a foundation of shared goals and values. Our thriving tech sectors are another opportunity for us to work together to benefit citizens and businesses across both countries. I look forward to deepening our relationship through the UK-Japan Digital Partnership in the future.

Both governments will use international settings such as Japan’s G7 Presidency and the G20 to tackle shared goals and challenges with other global partners.

This new partnership further delivers on the UK’s goal, set out in the Integrated Review, to become the European nation with the broadest presence in the Indo-Pacific region which is increasingly critical as global tech competition and international assertiveness intensifies.

Link: New plans to strengthen tech ties between UK and Japan
Source: Assent Information Services

UK and US announce new energy partnership

  • PM and President Biden create a new high-level bilateral group to focus on energy security, efficiency and affordability
  • The venture will give further high-level political backing to our accelerated energy transitions and Net Zero commitments
  • Over the coming year, US aims to more than double the amount of gas exported to the UK in 2021 to secure supply and reduce price volatility

The UK and US will work together to increase energy security and drive down prices, as part of an initiative announced by the Prime Minister and US President Biden today (7th December).

Under the new ‘UK-US Energy Security and Affordability Partnership’, the UK and US will drive work to reduce global dependence on Russian energy exports, stabilise energy markets and step up collaboration on energy efficiency, nuclear and renewables. The initiative will be steered by a new UK-US Joint Action Group, led by senior officials from the UK Government and the White House.

This new partnership follows the Prime Minister and President Biden’s meeting at the G20 Summit in Indonesia, where they agreed to take forward work to address our short-term energy needs and spearhead efforts to speed up our energy transition.

Putin’s war in Ukraine has caused an international spike in energy prices. To help deal with the resulting rise in the cost of living, the group will work to ensure the market delivers sustained increases in the supply of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to UK terminals from the US and will collaborate on energy efficiency measures. 

As part of this, the US will strive to export at least 9-10 billion cubic metres of LNG over the next year via UK terminals, more than doubling the level exported in 2021 and capitalising on the UK’s leading import infrastructure. This will be good for both UK and European partners as we look to replenish gas storage next year. To fulfil this shared objective, both governments will work to proactively identify and resolve any issues faced by exporters and importers.

The group will also work to reduce global reliance on Russian energy by driving efforts to increase energy efficiency and supporting the transition to clean energy, expediting the development of clean hydrogen globally and promoting civil nuclear as a secure use of energy.

The Prime Minister said:

Together the UK and US will ensure the global price of energy and the security of our national supply can never again be manipulated by the whims of a failing regime.

We have the natural resources, industry and innovative thinking we need to create a better, freer system and accelerate the clean energy transition. This partnership will bring down prices for British consumers and help end Europe’s dependence on Russian energy once and for all.

The partnership will build on the work of the UK-US Strategic Energy Dialogue led by energy ministers, with a focus on gas supply, energy efficiency, civil nuclear and clean energy.

On civil nuclear, the partnership will promote nuclear energy as a safe and reliable part of the clean energy transition. This includes deepening global collaboration on nuclear fuels and advanced nuclear technologies.

The partnership will also drive international investment in clean energy technologies, from offshore wind to carbon capture. This will complement the work the UK and US are doing together with G7 partners to support the use of clean and sustainable energy in developing countries through the Just Energy Transition Partnerships.

In tandem with shoring up security of energy supply, the group will exchange best practice and work on measures to increase energy efficiency and reduce demand for gas. It is already estimated that there could be an 8% reduction in demand for gas in the UK this winter. The Joint Action Group will explore policy solutions to enhance this efficiency, building on UK Government initiatives such as the Help to Heat Programme.

The initiative will pursue innovative energy solutions, such as the decarbonisation of the aerospace industry and development of sustainable aviation fuel technologies, collaborative efforts on electric vehicles, and Energy Smart Appliances.

We will also continue our close collaboration on Carbon Capture Usage and Storage, and progress the Clean Hydrogen Mission. The UK and US are already co-leads of the Hydrogen Breakthrough Agenda, a flagship initiative to push forward clean hydrogen internationally.

Link: UK and US announce new energy partnership
Source: Assent Information Services

More than £70 million to turbocharge the future of clean transport

  • More than £70 million in joint government and industry funding to develop clean transport technology
  • projects expected to support 3,300 jobs and drive economic growth across the UK over the next decade
  • innovations required for hydrogen-powered HGVs, a tractor powered by farmyard waste and more efficient methods of manufacturing electric motors among those awarded funding

A world-first heavy tractor powered by farm waste is just one of the game-changing projects benefitting from £73 million in new funding for the development of clean transport technologies announced today (Friday 2 December).

The joint government and industry investment will support projects right across the UK, from Burnaston to Bridgwater, in support of ambitions to build an end-to-end supply chain for zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) in the UK. The five successful projects are set to support 3,300 jobs across the UK, working on new ways to harness renewable fuels, electric motors that are both powerful and highly efficient, and new materials that’ll reduce the auto industry’s carbon footprint.

The funding has been awarded through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) Collaborative Research and Development programme, which supports the development of innovative low and zero-carbon automotive technology, with £36.4 million coming from government. This is backed by a further £36.6 million from the automobile industry – taking today’s total to £73 million.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“Our automotive industry is a world-leader, creating jobs whether in Essex, Somerset or Glasgow. Seizing the potential from new technologies will be a key part of its future success, while also making our roads cleaner, greener and more affordable.

“Today’s multi-million-pound boost – created by government working hand-in-hand with industry – will put these firms in pole position to pioneer these innovations, staying at the cutting edge of the global race for decades to come.”

Joint government and industry funding winners are:

HVS, Glasgow
Receiving £30 million to develop a hydrogen fuel cell-powered HGV cab and tractor unit to replace the highly polluting diesel-powered vehicles currently used to transport road freight.

CNH Industrial, Essex
Receiving £15.6 million to develop the world’s first liquid fugitive methane-powered, off-road, heavy tractor. It makes use of methane gas produced by waste from farms, that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere.

Toyota, Derbyshire
Receiving £11.3 million to develop a hydrogen-fuel cell version of the Hilux pickup truck, ideal for use in isolated settings where electric vehicle charging is impractical.

Constellium, Slough
Receiving £10 million to provide new sources of recycled aluminium that could massively reduce the auto industry’s carbon footprint.

Electrified Automation, Somerset
Receiving £6 million to up-scale a market-disrupting new method for manufacturing electric motors that are more cost-effective, powerful and efficient than much of the competition.

Chief Executive at the APC Ian Constance said:  

“Supporting vital research and development in the UK, now more than ever, provides an opportunity to invest in transport decarbonisation as well as boost growth in the automotive sector.

“The £73 million of funding announced today furthers world-leading innovation in net-zero technology for the automotive sector and beyond. These five fantastic projects are all collaborative by design, led by high-profile companies with innovative SME and academic partners, representing the best of UK industry.”

Today’s announcement comes on top of funding also being invested by the government through the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) to develop a high-value end-to-end electrified automotive supply chain in the UK.

This includes unlocking private investment in gigafactories, battery material supply chains, motors, power electronics, and fuel cell systems. The ATF is being delivered by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in partnership with the Advanced Propulsion Centre.

The government has committed a record £211 million to battery research and innovation through the Faraday Battery Challenge, to help the sector deliver 100,000 jobs in battery gigafactories and the battery supply chain by 2040. The funding will be delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) with support from the Faraday Institution, Innovate UK and the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC).

The UK Hydrogen Strategy sets out how government, working with industry, is aiming to develop 10GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030, for use across the economy. This forms a part of the British energy security strategy for delivering secure, clean and affordable British energy for the long term.

Notes to editors

Funding winners

Toyota – Hilux FC

An £11.3 million project, supported by £5.6 million from government with a further £5.7 million from industry, to develop and pilot production of a hydrogen fuel cell-powered version of the Toyota Hilux pickup truck. This will support more than 250 jobs across the UK over the next decade. Toyota have sites at Burnaston, Derbyshire, and Deeside, North Wales.

Electrified Automation – PIMMS

PIMMS (Process Innovations for electric Motor Manufacturing Solutions) will up-scale a new method for manufacturing permanent magnet electric motors, which are used in a wide range of electric vehicles. This £6.02 million project is being supported by £3.01 million from the government with a further £3.01 million from industry. Electrified Automation are based in Bridgwater, Somerset.

HVS – Hydrogen-Electric HGV Powertrain Development

A £30 million project, supported by £15 million from government with a further £15 million from industry, to develop a hydrogen fuel cell-powered HGV cab and tractor unit, to replace the diesel-powered equivalents currently used across the UK and Europe. HVS are based in Glasgow.

Constellium – CirConAl project

CirConAl, which stands for Circular and Constant Aluminium, is a project aiming to improve how industry manages scrap aluminium. The objective is to provide the auto industry with lower carbon and lower cost sources of recycled aluminium alloys. £5 million in government funding is supporting this £10 million project, with a further £5 million from industry. Constellium’s UK base is in Slough.

CNH Industrial – ATLAS

This £15.6 million project, supported by £7.8 million from government with a further £7.8 million from industry, will develop the world’s first liquid fugitive methane powered, off-road, heavy tractor. This form of methane can be derived from livestock manure, which could be a sustainable source of fuel in agricultural settings. CNH Industrial are based in Basildon, Essex.

About the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) collaborates with UK government, the automotive industry and academia to accelerate the industrialisation of technologies, supporting the transition to deliver net-zero emission vehicles.

Since its foundation in 2013, APC has funded 188 low-carbon projects involving 426 partners, working with companies of all sizes, and will have helped to create or safeguard over 50,000 jobs in the UK. The technologies developed in these projects are projected to save over 312 million tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of removing the lifetime emissions from 12.6 million cars.

With its deep sector expertise and cutting-edge knowledge of new propulsion technologies, APC’s role in building and advising project consortia helps projects start more quickly and deliver increased value. In the longer term, its work to drive innovation and encourage collaboration is building the foundations for a successful and sustainable UK automotive industry.

Link: More than £70 million to turbocharge the future of clean transport
Source: Assent Information Services

United Kingdom and Brazil sign agreement to avoid double taxation

The United Kingdom and Brazil signed a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) on Tuesday (29/11). The Agreement will provide relief from the double taxation of income in both countries. It is the most significant development in the trade relationship between the United Kingdom and Brazil in many years and represents a concrete response to demands from business in both countries – exploratory dialogues have been ongoing since 2017. Double taxation makes cross-border trade and investment more expensive, as well as creating obstacles for cross-border workers, which is burdensome for both the business sector and for individuals.

The main benefits of the bilateral agreement will be to:

  • Provide tax certainty and predictability to business, facilitating long-term investments;
  • Help tackle tax evasion by providing for the exchange of information between the two countries;
  • Intensify trade and investment between Brazil and the United Kingdom, strengthening the bilateral relationship.

The DTA brings about important benefits for the British and Brazilian economies. It will ensure that United Kingdom and Brazilian businesses encounter fewer economic and administrative burdens when doing business in the other country and reduce the costs of doing so.

As a result, we anticipate that the Brazilian market will become a more attractive place to invest for the British business community and will also facilitate Brazilian investment in the United Kingdom contributing to job creation, innovation and prosperity.

The link to the full text of the agreement will be included here once it is published on the official page of the British Government.

Before the signing of the DTA, Brazil was one of the only major trading partners of the United Kingdom that had not yet concluded an agreement to avoid double taxation.

Further information on the DTA: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/brazil-tax-treaties

Link: United Kingdom and Brazil sign agreement to avoid double taxation
Source: Assent Information Services

UK government takes major steps forward to secure Britain’s energy independence

  • UK government confirms historic decision to back Sizewell C’s development, set to generate reliable, clean electricity for 6 million UK homes, and deliver thousands of high-value jobs in Suffolk and nationwide
  • Business Secretary commits to taking forward the Energy Bill, a major step forward in building a secure future that is powered by cheaper, cleaner British energy, for Britain
  • comes alongside government push to help households cut energy usage – and with it their bills

Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps today launches a landmark package to invest now to help secure Britain’s energy independence.

Today the government is driving forward plans to build a secure energy future, creating cheaper, cleaner energy from British sources, for Britain. This includes continuing the revitalisation of the UK nuclear industry by confirming the first state backing of a nuclear project in over 30 years, part of the UK’s biggest step yet in the journey to energy freedom.

The government’s historic £700 million stake in Sizewell C is positioned at the heart of the new blueprint to Britain’s energy sovereignty, as plans to develop the new plant are approved today. This is expected to create 10,000 highly skilled jobs and provide reliable, low-carbon, power to the equivalent of 6 million homes for over 50 years.

Today’s approval comes alongside the government’s continued commitment to develop a pipeline of new nuclear projects, beyond Sizewell C. To support this, the UK is working at pace to set up Great British Nuclear, the vehicle tasked with developing a resilient pipeline of new nuclear builds, with an announcement expected early in the new year.

The driving force that will power up this long-term plan is the Energy Bill, which is being driven forward in Parliament, forming part of today’s once in a generation plan to put in place powers to shield Britain from global forces and secure energy for future generations.

It comes as the UK sets a new ambition to reduce energy demand by 15% by 2030. This is backed by a new £1 billion ECO+ insulation scheme, and a major expansion to the government’s public awareness campaign – all of which will help households cut back on energy waste and deliver warmer homes and buildings and cheaper energy bills.

Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps said:

Global gas prices are at record highs, caused by Putin’s illegal march on Ukraine.  We need more clean, affordable power generated within our borders – British energy for British homes.

Today’s historic deal giving government backing to Sizewell C’s development is crucial to this, moving us towards greater energy independence and away from the risks that a reliance on volatile global energy markets for our supply comes with.

This is at the heart of a package of measures that – together with the new Great British Nuclear and powers of the Energy Security Bill – will ensure secure supply for now, and for generations to come.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said:

Today’s investment in Sizewell C represents the biggest step on our journey to energy independence – the first state backing for a nuclear project in over 30 years. Once complete, this mega project will power millions of homes with clean, affordable, home-grown energy for decades to come.

Together with our drive to improve the nation’s energy efficiency, this package will help to permanently bring down energy bills and stop Britain being at the mercy of global gas prices beyond our control.

Simone Rossi, CEO of EDF Energy said:

This is a big vote of confidence in Sizewell C and we are very excited the government is partnering with us to prepare the project for further investment. Sizewell C will build on the achievements of Hinkley Point C and replicating its design will provide more certainty over schedule and costs. It will deliver another big boost to jobs and skills in the nuclear industry and provide huge new opportunities for communities in Suffolk. New nuclear will protect Britain from volatile global gas markets and help keep bills under control for the country’s homes and businesses.

Greater energy efficiency will strengthen Britain’s energy independence and reduce household bills permanently, and we welcome government’s action. We are ready to step up our installation rates to help more households benefit from lower bills.

The government is taking major steps to ensure British energy independence.

Investment in nuclear power

For many years the UK was a leader in the civil nuclear field, but when exchanged for gas, the UK’s nuclear industry has languished behind. That’s why today, the government has confirmed it will be pushing ahead with Sizewell C in Suffolk, following intentions set out in the Autumn Statement. This is expected to provide reliable and low carbon power to the equivalent of 6 million homes for over 50 years and, as it’s being built, will create up to 10,000 highly skilled jobs across the UK. The historic £700 million investment will enable the British

Government will become a 50% shareholder in the project’s development with EDF and will work together with the project company to raise capital investment for the project. The move is the first direct government investment in a new nuclear power project since Sizewell B, the last nuclear power station to be built in the UK, was approved for construction in 1987.

For Britain to achieve energy security, a pipeline of new nuclear is needed, alongside one large-scale project. Today the government is confirming its commitment to set up Great British Nuclear, an Arms’ Length Body (ALB) which will develop a resilient pipeline of new builds, beyond Sizewell C. With support from industry and our expert adviser Simon Bowen, this vehicle will help through every stage of the development process while ensuring these projects offer clear value for money for taxpayers and consumers. The UK government can confirm today that it will back Great British Nuclear with funding to enable the delivery of clean, safe electricity over the decades to come, protecting future generations from the high price of global fossil fuel markets, with an announcement expected in the new year.

Legislating to drive investment and to secure our energy future

The vehicle to power up the long-term plan, the Energy Bill, is on track and will be driven forward in Parliament. As the most significant piece of primary energy legislation since 2013, the Bill will liberate private investment and drive jobs and growth by helping to transform the UK’s energy industry. The Bill has a strong focus on enabling the deployment of homegrown, low-carbon technologies such as turbocharging the nascent CCUS and hydrogen industries, in which we already have a global head start. It will also encourage competition in the energy sector – and above all it will help to create clean jobs and cheaper bills.

These mark major steps forward in making Britain an independent and self-sufficient energy producing nation, ensuring consumers across the country can benefit from warmer, energy-efficient homes and buildings which are powered by home-grown clean energy.

Boost energy efficiency

Warmer homes and buildings are key to reducing bills and will create jobs along the way. That is why the government is committed to driving improvements in energy efficiency with a new ambition to reduce the UK’s final energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15% by 2030 and new ECO+ insulation scheme, announced earlier this week.

To further support the government’s new energy demand reduction target, the government has expanded its public awareness campaign to help reduce bills for households and protect vulnerable people over the winter and beyond. Backed by £18 million, this campaign will complement existing government support schemes. It will use public messaging to increase consumers’ capability to reduce their own household usage and bills through making their homes more energy efficient for next winter while equipping vulnerable groups with the right information for reducing energy usage without harming their health.

Complementing existing government support schemes such as the Energy Price Guarantee and the Energy Bills Support Scheme, the government’s expanded energy demand campaign will centre around key actions the government is advising the public to take, such as:

  • Reducing boiler flower temperature (saving households approximately £100 per year)
  • Turning down radiators when they aren’t in use (saving households approximately £70 per year)
  • Taking action to reduce heat loss from a property such as draught-proofing windows (saving households approximately £60 per year)

This information will also be available on the existing Help for Households website.

Notes to editors

Sizewell C

Ministers have made a commitment to reaching a Final Investment Decision on at least one large-scale nuclear power station this Parliament, subject to value for money and all relevant approvals. This objective was first set out in the Energy White Paper 2020, and has since been included in the government’s Net Zero and British Energy Security Strategies.

The UK government’s £679 million investment in Sizewell C will support the project’s continued development. EDF will also provide additional investment to match the government’s stake in the project. The government will work with the project company to seek to attract new third-party investment to help finance the project’s construction and operation

If approved, Sizewell C’s supply chain strategy sees 70% of the value of the project’s construction and operations contracts being placed with UK businesses, creating and supporting thousands of well-paid jobs in Suffolk and across the UK’s national nuclear industry.

The investment also allows for China General Nuclear’s (CGN) exit from the project, including buy-out costs, any tax due and commercial arrangements.

Regulated Asset Base (RAB)

Earlier this week, the Business Secretary designated Sizewell C as the UK’s first project to use the newly established Regulated Asset Base (RAB) funding model for nuclear. RAB is a tried and tested funding model that has already been used for other major infrastructure, such as the Thames Tideway Tunnel and London Heathrow Terminal 5.

Using the RAB model is expected to further reduce the costs of electricity to consumers, by cutting the cost of new nuclear project finance, which is the biggest driver of nuclear project costs.

Overall, the lower cost of financing a large-scale nuclear project through this scheme is expected to lead to savings for consumers of at least £30 billion on each project throughout its lifetime compared to the existing Contracts for Difference scheme.

Energy Awareness Campaign

Government is expanding its public awareness campaign to help reduce bills for households and protect vulnerable people over the winter and beyond.

The public awareness campaign will increase the reach of messaging around energy usage in the most cost-efficient way possible, using our full range of partners to communicate with the public.

Messaging will increase consumers’ capability to reduce their own household usage and bills through the most effective actions; drive take-up of energy efficiency measures to prepare homes for next winter; and equip vulnerable groups with the right information about how to reduce their energy usage without harming their health.

This messaging will be made available on the government’s existing Help For Households website.

This increased information and focus on energy efficiency will be closely aligned with the Help for Households campaign, which is already providing information to the public on support available this winter.

Our guidance focuses on those measures which are not already adopted by the majority of households in the UK, and where there is a positive financial impact for households without reducing comfort or putting people at risk this winter.

Energy Bill

  • With around 250 clauses, the Energy Bill is the most significant piece of primary legislation since 2013, set to liberate private investment in clean technologies, protect consumers, and reform the UK’s energy system so that it is efficient, safe and resilient.
  • The Bill’s passage is dependent on the parliamentary timetable.
  • The Bill contains a range of measures including, but not limited, to:
  • bring forward business models for CO2 transport and storage, industrial carbon capture, and low carbon hydrogen production
  • enable a hydrogen village trial in 2025
  • establish a Future System Operator
  • ensure that heat networks are regulated so that consumers are protected
  • reduce the risk of fuel supply disruption from accidents, severe weather, malicious threats and more.

Link: UK government takes major steps forward to secure Britain’s energy independence
Source: Assent Information Services

Energy storage backed with over £32 million government funding

  • £32.9 million government funding awarded to projects across the UK to develop new energy storage technologies, such as thermal batteries and liquid flow batteries
  • energy storage will be crucial as the UK scales up secure, clean and affordable renewable energy, with cutting-edge projects led by innovators across the UK
  • developing energy storage will further strengthen the UK’s energy security by helping unlock the full potential of home-grown renewables

Over £32 million government funding has been awarded to UK projects developing cutting-edge innovative energy storage technologies that can help increase the resilience of the UK’s electricity grid while also maximising value for money.

Five projects based across the UK will benefit from a share of over £32 million in the second phase of the Longer Duration Energy Storage (LODES) competition, to develop technologies that can store energy as heat, electricity or as a low-carbon energy carrier like hydrogen.

The variable nature of renewables like solar and wind power means that energy can be produced when it is not needed, such as during extended periods of high wind. However, new energy storage technologies can store excess energy to be used at a later point, so the energy can be used rather than wasted – meaning we can rely even more on renewable generation rather than fossil fuels, helping boost the UK’s long-term energy resilience.

This builds on the aims set out in the Energy Security Strategy earlier this year, to ensure a more flexible, efficient system by encouraging flexibility with large-scale, long-duration electricity storage to balance the overall system.

Minister for Climate Graham Stuart said:

Accelerating renewables is key to boosting our energy resilience. Energy storage helps us get the full benefit of these renewables, improving efficiency and helping drive down costs in the long term.

This £32.9 million government backing will enable green innovators across the UK to develop this technology, helping create new jobs and encouraging private investment, while also safeguarding the UK’s energy security.

The funding announced today follows the first phase of the LODES competition, which saw £2.7 million awarded to 19 projects. This second phase provides further funding to the most promising projects from Phase 1, enabling them to build prototypes and demonstrators to bring their projects to life.

The LODES competition provides government backing to accelerate the development and commercialisation of innovative energy storage technologies, in turn supporting the UK’s transition to relying on renewables, while also encouraging private investment and new green jobs – with an estimated 100 jobs supported through these projects.

Energy storage projects who have received funding

StorTera Ltd, based in Edinburgh, will receive £5.02 million to build a prototype demonstrator of their sustainable, efficient, and highly energy dense single liquid flow battery (SLIQ) technology. SLIQ will offer flexibility to the grid by storing electricity which can then be released when weather dependent technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels have periods of decreased energy generation.

Sunamp Ltd, based in East Lothian, will receive £9.25 million for a project that will trial their advanced thermal storage system in 100 homes across the UK. They will extend their existing heat battery to provide increased storage duration and capacity and pair it with household energy systems to tackle periods of low renewables generation on the grid.

The University of Sheffield will receive £2.60 million to develop a prototype modular thermal energy storage system, enabling optimised, flexible storage of heat within homes, providing benefits for both the occupant and the grid. The protype energy systems will be manufactured by Loughborough University and deployed at the Creative Energy Homes campus at the University of Nottingham, demonstrating the technology within lived-in homes.

RheEnergise Ltd will receive £8.24 million to build a demonstrator near Plymouth of their ‘High-Density Hydro®’ pumped energy storage system. The system uses an environmentally safe mineral-rich fluid more than two and half times denser than water, to create electricity from gentle slopes, without requiring steep dam walls or high mountains like traditional hydropower. The project will use surplus electricity to pump the fluid uphill, then later when electricity is needed by the grid, the fluid will be released back down the hill through turbines to generate electricity.

EDF UK R&D, in partnership with the University of Bristol, Urenco and the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), will receive £7.73 million to develop a hydrogen storage demonstrator utilising depleted uranium at UKAEA’s Culham Science Centre in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Electricity will be converted to hydrogen via electrolysis and stored for future use – either directly as hydrogen, or converted back to electricity via a fuel cell when required.

Stakeholder reaction

Dr. Gavin Park, CEO, StorTera Ltd said:

Long duration energy storage is key to a more sustainable future and better utilisation of renewable energy. This competition to accelerate the commercialisation of the most innovative technologies is a great initiative and StorTera are thrilled to have been selected to demonstrate the potential of our single liquid flow battery.

Patrick Dupeyrat, Director EDF R&D UK said:

Hydrogen is an exciting and provable future solution for the UK’s energy industry. Following the launch of this project, our demonstration technology will be a world first, allowing us to utilise depleted uranium to store hydrogen and provide grid flexibility. The UK’s net zero future needs hydrogen and nuclear in the mix, and HyDUS, which innovatively combines the two, makes perfect sense. We have every confidence that HyDUS will succeed and are delighted that the government has backed the project with critical research funding.

Stephen Crosher, Chief Executive of RheEnergise Ltd said:

Over the next decade, Long Duration Energy Storage can make an important contribution to the UK energy market, and indeed globally.  Long Duration Energy Storage is a key to delivering the energy transition and will help strengthen the resilience and security of the UK’s energy system. It will be essential to the effective operation of the grid as it balances intermittent renewable generation, it helps to create effective base-load power from renewables, whilst at the same time keeping costs low. Our storage system offers a solution.

BEIS’s contract is incredibly welcome and will enable us to accelerate the commercial deployment of our High-Density Hydro® storage system in the UK and overseas. With the BEIS contract in place, we will be seeking planning consent for our Devon project before the end of the year.

We are also pursuing a number of project opportunities elsewhere in the UK, continental Europe and Canada.  Drawing upon our work in Devon and the government’s welcome support, we expect to have our first 5MW grid-scale project in operation in 2026.

Andrew Bissell, CEO, Sunamp said:

We are thrilled to have received this very significant funding award, which is the result of outstanding work from our own and our partners’ product, materials and engineering teams. The money will be used to develop and test in 100 homes a first-of-a-kind thermal energy storage technology aimed at replacing fossil fuels and bringing forward the electrification of heat.

EXTEND systems in homes will help the UK ride out lulls in renewable energy generation and will allow homeowners to cut their carbon emissions and benefit from lower cost tariffs for flexible demand and participation in grid-supporting measures.

Dr Rob Barthorpe from the University of Sheffield said:

Our focus now is to make this happen. We intend to successfully demonstrate these technologies within lived-in homes, and to work with our industrial partners on scale up and commercialisation activities to bring them to market as soon as possible. We believe these technologies have the potential to play a significant role in maximising usage of renewable sources, and could provide real help to consumers during events such as the current energy crisis.

Notes to editors

The £68 million Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration competition is funded through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, which aims to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative clean energy technologies and processes through the 2020s and 2030s.

This competition is being conducted in two phases, and across two streams. The two competition streams are designed to support technologies at different stages of development, with Stream 1 supporting actual demonstrations of technologies closer to commercialisation, and Stream 2 supporting prototype demonstrations of earlier stage innovations. Funding for Stream 2 is in the form of Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) contracts.

Phase 2 builds on Phase 1, giving further funding to several Phase 1 projects to build and demonstrate their technology.

Link: Energy storage backed with over £32 million government funding
Source: Assent Information Services

Agreement with Singapore opens new fintech market for UK businesses

The Fintech Bridge builds on an agreement signed in 2016 – which will remove barriers to fintech trade by opening new regular talks between regulators and businesses, in addition to previous areas of cooperation

This will increase the cooperation and sharing of information on emerging trends in the fintech sector. It will also break down barriers to trade for UK and Singaporean fintechs, boosting growth and investment opportunities.

Andrew Griffith MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury said: said:

The UK and Singapore are among the world’s leading jurisdictions for fintech investment – and today’s announcement will only accelerate growth and innovation in our respective sectors.

The MoU we’ve announced today is crucial – and I would like to thank the Monetary Authority of Singapore for their constructive engagement throughout discussions.

CEO of Innovate Finance, Janine Hirt said:

Innovate Finance welcomes this announcement. A MoU between UK and Singapore will deliver a strengthened framework for vital regulatory and policy discussions between the two countries, enable innovation across financial services, and ensure businesses based in both the UK and Singapore have the ongoing support for their ambitions for growth to be realised.

We look forward to supporting future financial dialogues and business to business activity between these markets. We are also delighted to be working with the key organisations engaged to promote the opportunities this FinTech bridge has to offer, and to welcoming FinTech businesses to IFGS and UK FinTech Week next year.

Miles Celic, Chief Executive Officer, TheCityUK, said:

The UK and Singapore are two of the world’s most dynamic and innovative FinTech markets. The FinTech Bridge will drive exciting new opportunities and greater alignment of regulatory approaches will help with the expansion of FinTechs from the UK and Singapore into each other’s markets. Greater cooperation between government, regulators and industry will boost innovation and drive better outcomes for customers.

This MoU will also further deepen the engagement and opportunities between two of the premier international financial and related professional services centres.

The existing Regulatory Cooperation Agreement signed in 2016 has enabled the UK and Singaporean fintech sectors to closely align at a regulatory level. Today’s commitment goes further in a number of areas, making clear the business support available to firms, highlight opportunities in each other’s markets and creating a clear link between challenges firms face and policy discussions.

The MoU will come into effect next week once formalities have been completed on both sides.

Further information

  • Link to joint statement: UK and Singapore deepen collaboration in FinTech and strengthen financial cooperation – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
  • The UK and Singapore are two of the world’s leading jurisdictions for fintech investment, as set out in Innovate Finance’s 2022 Summer Investment Report.
  • For instance, the report notes that in the first half of 2022 total capital invested in FinTech globally reached $59 billion – flat year-on-year. However, the UK FinTech sector continues to grow with investment reaching $9.1bn – a 24% year-on-year increase from H1 2021, and more than the rest of Europe combined.
  • Across the same period, Singapore was ranked as South East Asia’s leading jurisdiction for fintech investment, and the sixth globally.
  • In Europe, $17.6 billion was invested into European FinTech across 708 deals, a 10% increase compared to the same period of 2021.

However, such an increase has been driven by the positive growth in investment in UK FinTech. Excluding the UK, the rest of Europe was in fact down by 2% compared to the same period in 2021.

Link: Agreement with Singapore opens new fintech market for UK businesses
Source: Assent Information Services

UK finalises landmark data decision with South Korea to help unlock millions in economic growth

  • Organisations will be able to transfer personal data securely to the Republic of Korea without restrictions by the end of the year following legislation

  • UK decision will help generate an estimated £14.8 million in annual business savings and increased exports

  • Milestone formalises first data adequacy decision since UK left the European Union and goes beyond scope of previous EU deal – boosting investment.

UK organisations will be able to share personal data securely with the Republic of Korea before the end of the year as the UK finalises legislation for its first independent adequacy decision.

Allowing businesses in both countries to share data without restrictions will make it easier for them  to operate and grow. Once in force, the legislation is estimated to cut administrative and financial burdens for UK businesses by £11 million a year and is expected to increase exports to South Korea by £3.8 million annually.

Personal data is information related to an individual, such as a name or email address, and data must be protected to a high standard to ensure it’s collected, shared and used in a trustworthy way.

After agreeing to a data adequacy agreement in principle in July 2022, the UK government has completed its full assessment of the Republic of Korea’s personal data legislation. The government has concluded that the Republic of Korea has strong privacy laws in place which will protect data transfers to South Korea while upholding the rights and protections of UK citizens.

Before now, organisations needed to have costly and time-consuming contractual safeguards in place, such as standard data protection clauses and Binding Corporate Rules. The new freedoms will open up opportunities for many small and medium sized businesses who may have avoided international data transfers to Korea due to these burdens.

Removing barriers to data transfers will also boost research and innovation by making it easier for experts to collaborate on medical treatments and other vital research which could save lives in the UK. For example, secure international personal data transfers are essential for developing effective medical treatments like vaccines.

UK Data Minister Julia Lopez met with representatives of the Korean Personal Information Protection Commission today to mark the legislation being laid in Parliament, which is expected to come into force from the 19th December.

This is the UK’s first decision to recognise a priority country adequate since leaving the European Union (EU).

The UK’s adequacy decision is broader than the EU’s deal with South Korea. The most significant difference between the two deals is that UK organisations will be able to share personal data related to credit information with the Republic of Korea to help identify customers and verify payments. The ability to share this type of data will help UK businesses with a presence in the Republic of Korea to boost credit, lending, investment and insurance operations in the Republic of Korea.

Data Minister Julia Lopez said:

“ Before the end of the year, businesses will be able to share data freely with the Republic of Korea – safe in the knowledge it will be protected to the high privacy standards we expect in the UK.

“ Removing unnecessary burdens on businesses will help unleash innovation, drive growth and improve lives across both our countries.”

Ko Haksoo Chairperson of the Korean Personal Information Protection Commission said:

“ It’s a great pleasure for us to see the outcome of the UK’s adequacy decision for the Republic of Korea today.

“ I look forward to strengthening our partnership in promoting the trustworthy use and exchange of data between Korea and the UK based on a high level of data protection.”

​​The Republic of Korea is one of the fastest growing markets for the UK, with more than two-thirds of British services exports to the country data-enabled.

John Edwards, UK Information Commissioner, said:

“ We support the Government in undertaking adequacy assessments to enable personal data to flow freely to trusted partners around the world.

“ We provided advice to the Government during this assessment of the Republic of Korea, and we are satisfied with the Government’s recognition of similar data protection rights and protection in Korean laws. This will bring certainty to UK businesses and reduce the burden of compliance, while ensuring people’s data is handled responsibly.”

Ends

Notes to Editors:

  • Please see here the Statutory Instrument (legislation) that will give effect to the UK’s adequacy decision for the Republic of Korea,  is expected to come into effect on the 19th December.

  • Please see here the Explanatory Memorandum sets out the purpose of the Statutory Instrument.

  • Please see here the Impact Assessmentwhich sets out the objectives of the costs, benefits and risks.

  • In August 2021, the UK announced the Republic of Korea as a priority country for data adequacy assessments alongside the United States, Australia, Singapore, the Dubai International Finance Centre and Colombia. The government continues to make excellent progress in its assessment of these other priority countries.

  • Data enabled services exports to these destinations are already worth more than £80 billion. The ability to unlock more growth and allow us to share crucial information, such as life-saving research and cutting-edge technology innovation across our borders.

  • DCMS sectors, like tech, telecoms and the creative industries, contributed £211 billion to the economy last year and support more than four million jobs across the UK. And they are creating new jobs, with 250,000 more jobs now than in 2019, before the pandemic.

  • Exports of services by the digital sector were worth £56 billion in 2020, which is around a fifth of the UK’s total service exports.

Link: UK finalises landmark data decision with South Korea to help unlock millions in economic growth
Source: Assent Information Services

UK Export Finance commits up to £4bn to strengthen UK and Moroccan trade ties

  • Up to £4 billion available finance for overseas buyers of UK goods and services will strengthen the trade relationship between the UK and Morocco
  • Announcement comes as export credit agency appoints new International Export Finance Executive (IEFE) in Casablanca, Morocco
  • Boost for British exporters with a minimum 20% overall contract value provided to UK suppliers with any overseas project financed by UKEF

UK Export Finance (UKEF) has today announced up to £4bn is now available for Moroccan buyers for projects in the region, provided at least 20% of the content is sourced from UK businesses.

To promote UK and Moroccan trade, UKEF has appointed a new International Export Finance Executive (IEFE), based in Casablanca, to help galvanize new opportunities for UK businesses to export to the region. The financing will promote investment between the two nations by helping Moroccan buyers access support to deliver projects, provided that at least 20% of the overall contract value is sourced from UK suppliers.

Morocco offers a range of opportunities for UK businesses, such as potential projects in energy transition, water desalination, and infrastructure, including rail, roads, ports and airports to boost the domestic economy through new transport links.

The announcement comes just weeks after UKEF announced that it had deployed £2.3 billion in the continent in 2021, triple the amount invested between 2018-19. The announcement follows the UK and Morocco celebrating three centuries of shared prosperity in 2021, which marked the 300th anniversary of the first trade treaty between the two nations.

I’m proud that UKEF is playing a leading role in strengthening the historic trade relationship between the UK and Morocco, with on-the-ground presence and support from our International Finance team. UK firms have an opportunity to do more business with Morocco – a country that is seeking to deliver a more sustainable future – and we look forward to supporting projects in the region.

The British Ambassador to Morocco, Simon Martin, said:

It’s great news that UKEF now have a dedicated resource here in Morocco. The challenge is now on buyers in Morocco to bring their projects forward. With the support of UKEF we could see a new wave of investment in Moroccan infrastructure, renewables and other sectors. I am excited to see how this develops and looking forward to seeing our partnership with Morocco continue to grow.

The appointment of an IEFE in Casablanca is the latest development in UKEF’s drive to expand its global network and generate new business for UKEF and UK businesses. There are currently 18 executives in place across the Americas, South Asia, Asia Pacific and Africa, with plans to increase this number to around 30 in the next year. IEFEs work closely with overseas buyers, financial lenders, His Majesty’s Trade Commissioners and British Ambassadors to engage with overseas governments and multinational companies looking to buy from the UK – creating vital trading opportunities for British businesses.

UKEF in Africa

UK Export Finance (UKEF) has billions of pounds in capacity to support projects in African markets sourcing from the UK and can offer financing in up to 12 African currencies. It can help foreign countries access finance, loans and insurance to make their projects happen, if they commit to sourcing goods and services from the UK.

Link: UK Export Finance commits up to £4bn to strengthen UK and Moroccan trade ties
Source: Assent Information Services

Building safety levy moves a step closer

Proposals for how developers would pay to fix unsafe buildings have been set out today by the government as it moves a step closer to imposing its new Building Safety Levy.

The government has now begun consulting developers and other interested parties on the plans, which will see an estimated £3 billion collected over the next 10 years.

Under the proposals drawn by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, developers of residential buildings, regardless of their height, will have to pay the levy contribution as part of the building control process.

This will mean that unless the levy is paid, a developer could not move on to the next stage of the building process, which could lead to project delays and impact future revenues.

Minister for Local Government and Building Safety Lee Rowley said:

We have been clear that developers must pay to fix building safety issues and the Building Safety Levy is an important part of making that a reality.

Today’s consultation will give industry and local authorities an opportunity to work with us going forward.

By having these plans in place, we can ensure that all leaseholders are protected, regardless of whether their developer has pledged to remediate or not.

The government’s proposals include an option to alter levy rates depending on where in the country the building is, with lower rates in areas where land and house prices are less expensive. It also suggests that local authorities will be best placed to act as the collection agents as they have the necessary systems, data, knowledge, and relationships in place with the developer sector.

In order to protect the supply of affordable homes, it is proposed they be exempt from a levy charge. This is alongside a number of community buildings, including NHS facilities, children’s homes and refuges, including those for victims of domestic abuse.

The levy will be reviewed regularly so that it can be adjusted to take account of changing circumstances, such as wider economic conditions. There are also plans to protect small and medium sized enterprises by excluding smaller projects.

The Building Safety Levy will run alongside the developer pledges which were announced earlier this year. Under the pledges, 49 of the UK’s biggest homebuilders have committed to fix life-critical fire-safety defects in buildings over 11 metres where they had a role in developing those buildings in the last 30 years. This amounts to a commitment of at least £2 billion.

The Building Safety Levy was first announced in February 2021 and plans to extend it to cover all residential buildings were confirmed in April 2022. The Building Safety Levy is one of the ways we will ensure that the burden of paying for fixing historic building safety defects does not fall on leaseholders or taxpayers.

The consultation seeks views on the delivery of the Levy, including how it will work, what the rates will be, who must pay, what sanctions and enforcement will apply, and who is responsible for collecting the levy.

The consultation will be open for ten working weeks from today (22 November) and seeks the views of all interested parties, especially developers of all sizes, building control professionals and local authorities. Their views will be taken into account before any final decisions are made next year.

Further information:

The consultation is available here.

Link: Building safety levy moves a step closer
Source: Assent Information Services