UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has this week launched a £30m fund to support innovations in smart energy, and is now calling on entrepreneurs to submit ideas for local energy systems that can deliver cleaner, cheaper services.
Projects are expected to demonstrate novel market and business model approaches using smart energy systems, integrating new technologies across heat, power, and transport in a way that is replicable and scalable across the UK.
The competition aims to catalyse growth in an industry that is forecast to be worth billions of pounds by the early 2020s.
"We are at the start of a smart energy revolution, which will see technology like energy storage, smart appliances, and electric vehicles become part of the fabric of everyday life," said Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry.
"A future built on digital, data-driven smart systems will transform the way society interacts with the grid - delivering cheaper, greener and more flexible access to energy. This competition will help to give the UK's makers and innovators the tools to make this vision a reality, and seize on the business opportunities ahead."
The competition is part of the government's wider Industrial Strategy programme and UKRI's Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme, which will see the agency invest up to £102.5m in industry projects and research programmes.
The programme aims to cultivate designs for smart local energy systems that make the best use of cheaper renewables, energy storage, ultra-low emission vehicles, energy efficiency, low carbon heat and digital infrastructure, among other technologies.
"Smart local energy systems can intelligently link supply, storage and use of power, heat and transport in new ways that dramatically improve efficiency and work better for people," said Rob Saunders, challenge director at Prospering from the Energy Revolution.
"This competition will seek the very best ideas in British innovation to show how the energy sector of the future will be cleaner and greener and support the jobs and industries of the future."