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UK government innovation spending could deliver a world-leading energy system – if GBP 500 million of allocated funds are targeted correctly, a new paper from industry body Scottish Renewables has said. The organisation’s report identified six key innovation areas, and called on the UK Government to work with industry to help guide investment to deliver a low-carbon, low-cost energy sector.

The priority areas identified are:

  • Storage technologies – which can enable increased renewables capacity and provide a multitude of services to the management of the electricity system, as well as empowering communities and consumers;
  • Floating Offshore Wind – which could open huge areas of the world’s deepest oceans to green energy generation;
    Low-Carbon Heat – which accounts for 46% of UK energy demand, but of which only 4.9% was renewable in 2014;
  • Wave and Tidal energy;
  • Systems Integration – thinking about our heat, transport and electricity sectors as one system will allow to be ‘smarter’ in the way we use power and drive efficiencies, increase security and reduce costs;
  • Flexible networks – could, according to the Committee on Climate Change, help save consumers up to GBP 3.5 billion per year. Securing the technology to deliver what the CCC call "a more flexible power system" will require a range of technologies such as Active Network Management, demand-side response, storage and increased interconnection, all of which are yet to be fully developed.
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