Monthly digest with Mark Smith – July 2022

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Mark Smith monthly digest
Expert Opinion
August 9, 2022

Driving the green revolution

With the rise of Electric Vehicles or EV’s does the UK have the energy to provide for such an increase in electricity demand? More importantly, is the infrastructure suited to accommodate this change? Although the latest EV now has much greater millage, with the Mercedes EQS reaching up to 450 miles, I believe if we were to move towards a green revolution, the government needs to look at this seriously, encouraging people to buy into this innovation.

How performance-limiting mechanisms reduce power loss in organic solar cells.

One way the UK is looking to deal with this increase is with the plans for Sizewell C nuclear power plant. It has got the go-ahead and will supposedly provide 7% of the UK’s electricity once operational. However, this brings into question other power sources such as solar panels. With the record temperatures this country faces and solar panels reaching efficiency levels of nearly 20%, does it make them a suitable alternative to the 30-45% returns from fossil fuels?

The United Kingdom’s Balanced Net Zero Pathway requires an unprecedented shift in the energy sector.

The question that stems from this is how much more electricity the UK will need to produce in the future. The need to transition from the reliance on gas will play a big part in this, with air source heat pumps being an increasingly popular alternative. This Mckinsey report estimates a 50% increase in demand by 2035. I believe this will come from innovations such as aircon units and electric vehicles and their charging stations. How will we handle this demand? Looking at electricity generation and encouraging innovation in green energy production alternatives is more important than ever.

Is the focus in the right place?

The recent L-day R&D tax legislation changes seem to have more of a focus on specific and “good” claims. Although this is important and fraud and poor compliance need to be tackled, it leaves a gap for encouraging green technologies and innovation. ‘Clean growth’ is one of the UK’s Grand Challenges set out in our Industrial Strategy. However, this area’s narrow scope and relatively low value of Innovate UK grants are insufficient. The industry-led and volume-based nature of R&D tax credits could play a greater role in tackling this challenge. As a country, we must continue to adapt, evolve and incentivise businesses in the UK to drive innovation.

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