The recent unveiling of the ‘UK Battery Strategy‘ has stirred varied reactions within the industry, blending optimism with calls for more substantial actions.
Notable figures such as Jeremy Wrathall, Chief Executive Officer of Cornish Lithium, commend the strategy as a significant step forward, recognising the opportunities for the UK in becoming a leader in the evolving battery and critical minerals sector.
Mr Wrathall said: “It (UK Battery Strategy) clearly identifies the opportunities to be had by becoming a world leader in this vital rapidly developing area of industry and manufacturing.
“The document also recognises the peril that awaits the UK if we ignore this opportunity – given the implications for the economy and for defence.”
However, voices like Quentin Willson, Founder of FairCharge, suggest that while the strategy signals the government’s commitment to future industrial plans, more comprehensive measures may be needed to navigate the global battery race effectively.
Mr Willson said: “The government announcing their battery strategy on a Sunday may seem odd but there are meetings this week with global investors, so running the flag up the mast now sends signals of the government’s future industrial strategy.
“This is undoubtedly good news that they realise they need to be much clearer after the much-criticised U-turn on 2030 to 2035. Global investors and industry need to see consistency on battery and supply chain policy.
“But China, the US and Europe are powering ahead with battery investment, so the sums involved in the UK are rather small.”
Julia Poliscanova, Senior Director at Transport & Environment commented: “To have a successful green industry the UK needs to also look further mid and upstream to onshore more sustainable processing of critical minerals like copper and lithium.
“But above all, the UK and the rest of Europe must join forces and form a strategic battery alliance to compete in a fierce global clean tech race.”
Concerns have been raised regarding the strategy’s focus on the electric vehicle (EV) sector and its potential implications for startups.
Investors, represented by James Frith of Volta Energy Technologies, highlight the need for ongoing collaboration between the government, industry and investors to ensure sustained growth and technical development in the sector.
Mr Firth said: “The UK’s battery strategy has suffered a series of setbacks over recent years as the result of political turmoil, Johnson Matthey’s exit from the industry and the collapse of companies like Britishvolt and Oxis Energy.
“The additional £50 million to support battery industrialisation centres could not come at a better time, as many of the start-ups in the sector require manufacturing and development partners to build prototypes in order to secure long term off-take with customers.”