Digital mountain

Standing out against the government’s recent backtrack from net zero commitments, funding for tech is forging ahead, with twelve AI initiatives set to receive a share of £1m as part of the 'AI for Decarbonisation' programme funded by the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero.

The schemes include the application of AI to such challenges as forecasting when solar panels will best produce energy for the grid, decarbonising dairy farming through robots, monitoring crop and soil health and enabling computers to reduce power consumption by mimicking the human brain. 

Lord Callanan, minister for energy efficiency and green finance, said the UK is world-leading in developing practical applications for advanced AI. "This unique position means we must now push the boundaries in how this technology can enhance our rapidly-growing clean energy sector."

Making the awards, the government announced a further £2.25m under the programme, taking the total funding allocation to £3.75m. Energy firms, software developers and innovators have until October to apply.

In a separate development, the government’s Digital Catapult agency, part of Innovate UK, has received up to £500,000 to launch the UK’s first Centre for Excellence on AI innovation for decarbonisation (ADViCE). The centre will be a virtual hub bringing together businesses, academics and experts to advance research into AI solutions.

Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO of Digital Catapult, said: "Smart use of AI and data will be fundamental to meeting the UK's net zero commitment. ADViCE will support those building the algorithms and those investing in AI solutions in the most impactful way possible."