The UK Government has launched a new £11m funding initiative aimed at supporting R&D projects focused on local clean energy generation and storage.
UK Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said the programme will grant funds to the most innovative localised energy systems, which could provide energy at a scale from clusters of buildings up to whole districts.
The competition is jointly funded by the Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
The goal of the programme is to integrate renewable energy supplies in places of high demand to reduce the need to reinforce the national grid; balance energy supply and demand; and integrate electric vehicles or easy charging systems into buildings.
The competition will allow businesses to develop new products, services and solutions in and across the energy, built environment, transport and digital sectors, as the market for smart energy systems to UK companies is estimated to be worth between £3bn and £5bn by 2020.
The programme will be carried out under the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) and as a result any company or research body can receive funds, if they demonstrate commercial potential of their technology or service.
The deadlines for registration and expressions of interest are 12 and 19 March 2014, respectively.
Technology Strategy Board CEO Iain Gray said the development of localised energy systems is a key part of a complex mix of technologies for generating, transmitting, distributing and storing energy, as the UK continues the transition to a low carbon economy in the coming decades.
"This funding competition is therefore critical, not only in developing the individual technologies, but also in developing solutions to how technologies are integrated to deliver robust, flexible and cost-effective systems," said Gray.