The government’s new infrastructure body, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), recently highlighted the potential of smart energy technologies in a report that claimed a more flexible system could save British consumers as much as £8bn a year.
Mr Osborne pledged to implement the NIC’s recommendations, saying that the government would work alongside energy regulator Ofgem to remove regulatory and policy barriers to smart technologies. It will also allocate at least £50mn for innovation in energy storage, demand-side response and other smart technologies.
Among its key findings, the NIC noted the potential for demand flexibility to allow businesses to change how they use electricity. Deploying automated systems to reduce consumption at times of high demand and increase it at times of low demand will allow energy users to save money and cut emissions.
The government also announced that it was aiming to make as much as £730m available for large-scale renewables projects.