Globally, energy prices have rocketed, reaching unprecedented heights. A mixture of surging demand following the global pandemic and the effects of international affairs on an already volatile international market governing gas prices are largely to blame. With such factors existing outside UK control, the Government has taken steps to pre-empt similar occurrences in the future, attempting to bolster the UK's energy independence, security and prosperity.
As part of such pre-emptive action, the Government released its Energy Security Strategy on 06 April 2022 – a strategy which looks to realise the aforementioned improvements to UK energy capabilities, all the while maintaining focus on improving the cleanliness and affordability of energy. Having reviewed the Energy Security Strategy, one point seems clear – technological innovation will play a vital role in the realisation of the strategy's ambitions.
Alongside the aim to increase the diversity of energy production in the UK, for the UK, strong emphasis has been placed on the enhancement of renewable energy production capabilities. The strategy outlines ways in which the UK might accelerate its deployment of wind, nuclear, solar and hydrogen energy in particular, with the domestic production of oil and gas expected to fuel this energy transition in the meantime, all the while ensuring energy security for the UK.
Through the lens of innovation, proposals to expand UK nuclear and offshore wind energy capacities stand out. With ambitions to increase nuclear energy capacity up to 24GW by 2050, nuclear energy is expected to serve 25% of the UK's demand for electricity. In order to fuel such progress, the Energy Security Strategy informs of the formation of a new governmental body, Great British Nuclear, focussed on bringing forth nuclear energy projects, into which substantial funding is expected to be invested. Of particular interest is the strategy's admission that "Subject to technology readiness from industry, Small Modular Reactors will form a key part of the nuclear project pipeline.". In highlighting a technological niche within which inventors may be able to benefit significantly, as a result of performing innovations in order to bring an already existing industry up to speed with modern demands, the British Energy Strategy quite clearly incites and encourages innovation within industry.
In further recognition of the importance of innovation, the strategy expresses ambition to increase offshore wind energy capacity to 50GW by 2030 – more than enough to power every home in the UK. Of this 50GW, it is expected that 5GW will be provided by floating offshore installations, capable of operating in far deeper regions of the sea. In placing such stock in a fledgling industry as it attempts to meet its clean, affordable energy targets, the UK government is placing a considerable degree of confidence in the innovative abilities of industry operators.
Although perhaps the most lucrative platforms for innovation are referred to above, ambitions to accelerate the expansion of solar capacity and low carbon hydrogen production may also offer platforms for technological progress, all with a view to rendering 95% of the UK's electricity low carbon by 2030. In addition, the round of licensing for North Sea oil and gas projects announced as part of the strategy, and set to take place in Autumn 2022, is sure to fuel the production of innovative technologies, for example those necessary to decarbonise offshore assets in order to meet ambitious net zero targets.
Such technological progress, of course, requires funding, something which the Energy Security Strategy is keen to highlight, and something which the strategy informs the UK government are ready and willing to provide. With investment on an unprecedented scale set to take place, £100 billion expected to fuel private sector activity and the foundation of novel British industries – with specific reference to that of offshore wind, a surge in innovative activity and technological progress can quite easily be expected.
As an organisation which is both keen and expertly equipped to aid innovators in the realisation and commercial exploitation of their technologies, the British Energy Security Strategy comes as welcome news to Marks & Clerk. As a business, we are fully capable of matching such diversity in technological innovation with a diversity in technological expertise. Claiming a global network of employees, each with a unique set of expertise, Marks & Clerk is primed to facilitate innovation, in its ability to aid innovators in gaining optimal protection for their intellectual property, with a view to meeting the aggressive objectives set out in the Energy Security Strategy.
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