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| 4 minutes read

Does the UK Battery Strategy go far enough?

Last week saw the UK release it's new “Battery Strategy” - a comprehensive blueprint for its future in the battery “arms race”. It's certainly been a long-time coming and given the constant flip-flopping on policymaking from this current Government recently, it's been difficult to know where we really stand in our Net Zero ambitions.

Therefore, it is certainly encouraging to finally see some positive plans put forward for our battery future. I've spoken to many battery business leaders in the UK who have long been calling for a meaningful plan for the future - one in which government, grid operators, and manufacturing / tech companies are aligned. It seems that the Battery Taskforce has made strides with this Strategy release.

The Strategy is based around 3 pillars: DESIGN - BUILD - SUSTAIN. It shows a core focus on maintaining the UK's position as a hotbed for world-class battery / storage startups with ongoing investments into innovation and domestic materials supply (love the work going on with Cornish Lithium and Green Lithium), continued lobbying for automotive investments in UK manufacturing, and a much-needed revision on how we better dispose of, reuse, and recycle batteries. All very positive indeed! 

However, the Battery Strategy does present some wider questions and has some notable omissions. 

Passing through the Valley of Death

As mentioned, the UK is well renowned for world class academia-led science and technology innovation and entrepreneurship and there's been a real buzz in the UK start-up scene for years now - we've worked with many of them!

The challenge has always been how to go from Lab to Fab, and navigating successfully through the so called “valley of death” between R&D and Production. So many times we've seen great R&D coming from the UK but typically struggling to go beyond TRL 6-7 in the UK. For wider industrial scale-up, other countries across Asia, US, or wider Europe have been chosen. (The US in particular in the post-IRA era)

It's quite right to acknowledge the significant further investments in the UK's industrialisation for example with UKBIC, The Faraday Battery Challenge etc. but in the end, the complexity and costs associated with land acquisition and new facility construction makes the UK a less desirable manufacturing location for investors. This challenge has deepened since Brexit with added complications of sourcing equipment and materials from the EU.

Of course the investments into the UK automotive sector are great to see, but many of the successes heralded in the Strategy focus on EV manufacturing, and less so on the battery production side. It's fantastic to see Tata /JLR select the UK for the new Gigafactory as well as Nissan and AESC's continued investments, but we know all too well about the challenges the UK has faced with Giga scale battery manufacturing to date.

Unlike the EV battery domain, I still fear we don't have the mechanisms in place for full scale manufacturing in the wider stationary storage sector. It would bring more reassurance if we had further insights into how we tackle the wider energy storage space within the BUILD phase of the Strategy. 

What about stationary energy storage?

I echo the comments from Nick Bradford in this article and from Solar Energy UK recently. This Strategy is very exciting when you consider the EV battery value chain but details around stationary storage are scarce, whether that grid-scale BESS or behind the meter batteries for domestic and C&I uses. 

Investment houses and developers are driving soaring grid-scale BESS pipelines in the UK due to our sophisticated market opportunities, but it seems to be driven primarily by the private sector (BESS demand is set to reach 10GWh (if not more) by 2035!). This roll out will be fundamental to supporting mass electrification of transportation, homes, industry etc. Likewise, behind the meter smaller BESS systems will be vital for homes and small businesses to better control their energy usage and become self-sufficient, easing the burden on the grid. 

Many of these BESS assets will still rely on overseas battery packs, power equipment and components which is a real problem given the increased regulatory focus on domestic supply and growing geopolitical tensions between the East and West. 

Its vitally important that we take hold of our own production of batteries for BESS applications, and not be solely focused on EV batteries which makes the lack of focus on this area in the Strategy, rather concerning.

We have seen some promising moves with National Grid plans to streamline BESS grid connection delays and Rishi Sunak hinting at land planning reforms, but it's still rather fuzzy and more tangible action is needed, and fast!


In summary, the Battery Strategy is certainly a positive and provides some much needed clarity on our commitments to UK battery supply for EVs. I'd like to see an addendum which tackles BESS strategy in more depth, particularly how we navigate the challenges developers and operators face currently. 

Furthermore, I hope we soon see a comprehensive plan on how we will execute this plan because unfortunately for too long the UK has been very good at talking the talk but less so walking the walk. With a General Election looming, there's the risk that the positive steps we've taken get disrupted by parliamentary change.

I lead the Energy Storage practice at Hyperion Executive Search. We support the UK battery sector, right the way along the value chains from minerals / materials to cell and system manufacturing. We also support developers and IPPs in rolling out UK BESS projects. If you'd like support in growing your team, then contact me at


As the UK strives to reach its ambitious net zero target by 2050, the strategy’s focus on electric vehicle supply chains and manufacturing, while neglecting the utility-scale BESS industry, underscores the importance of a balanced approach.


strategy, batteries, energy storage