Once again, energy professionals and companies have been recognised in the new New Year’s Honours list.
2021 sees two OBEs presented, one to Swanbarton’s Anthony Price – recognised for services to the energy storage industry – and one to Kirsty Hamilton for services to green energy, the finance sector and climate change.
Additionally, Professor Dieter Helm CBE received a Knighthood for services to the environment, to energy and to utilities policy. He is currently a fellow at New College, University of Oxford and was chair of the Natural Capital Committee until the end of November 2020, when the Committee’s second term of office came to an end.
“The recognition of a lifetime of work on public policy is a great honour,” stated Professor Helm when contacted by Current±. “Over the last decade I have been working on the 25 Year Environment Plan which is now being integrated into the Environmental Bill going through Parliament.
“I also wrote the Cost of Energy Review, which is now being reflected in the energy white paper. These are examples of the intersection between academic research, government and business, which is not only the area that interests me most, but where there is a chance to make things happen.”
The importance of energy storage for the stability of the energy system has been thrown into light over the past year given the turbulence low demand and high renewable generation has caused during the COVID-19 lockdown in particular.
Price established energy storage consultancy Swanbarton in 2003, as well as working as director of the Energy Storage Association in the US, and founding the Electricity Storage Network in the UK, to allow the industry to “speak collectively to government, government agencies and the media on industry wide matters,” he explained.
“I started Swanbarton as an engineering consultancy, twenty years ago to support clients with my knowledge of distributed energy, renewable energy and energy storage,” continued Price. “I worked with clients from around the world, at first helping a few power companies in North America, Europe as well as battery manufacturers in the UK and Japan to understand, acquire and use energy storage. Of course, what was interesting was that very few people, even in the electricity industry, knew about the possibility of using very large batteries to help our power supply.
“Because batteries were (and still are) expensive, knowing how to use them for best effect is really important. To create a market for our clients, we spent most of our time and effort into spreading the word about the benefits of energy storage on the electricity system. Ten years ago, there were only a few suppliers of battery systems but now batteries are very commonplace. That’s because we now have an energy storage industry. I’d like to think that our efforts to tell people that storage is simple has been the reason why there is a great interest in the use of batteries in people’s homes, in businesses and connected directly to the energy networks.”
Most recently Swanbarton began work on the Port Energy Systems Optimisation (PESO) project in Portsmouth, where a new smart energy system pilot that includes a novel energy storage solution is being developed.
Investment advisor Hamilton, meanwhile, has 30 years of experience working on active climate and energy policy, and is currently working with the COP26 Energy Transition team.
This year’s awardees follow successive recognition for the clean energy sector in recent years, with future networks manager at SPEN, James Yu, and chair of the Energy Systems Data Taskforce, Laura Sandys, recognised in last year’s list.