Heriot Watt experts to lead new £20m UK centre for smart-grid system integration

HWU energy systems centre photoA new £20 million National Centre for Energy Systems Integration, involving specialists at Heriot-Watt University, will take a full overview of UK energy network and provision which could help save consumers up to £8 billion a year by 2030.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council centre with £15 million of industry support –  will bring together energy experts from around the world to help unravel the energy network and understand future supply and demand.

The energy systems centre is designed to bridge a major information gap in the drive towards a fully integrated, UK smart energy network, by looking for the first time at the energy system as a whole; gas, power, renewables, heating and cooling.

By taking this holistic approach, and providing robust messages about the real world, the Centre will be crucial to improving energy efficiency, driving down customer bills and reducing carbon emissions by optimising the energy network as a whole and informing future government policy.

An interdisciplinary team of researchers across Heriot-Watt’s Research Institutes will draw on the expertise of leading academics from the universities of Newcastle, Sussex, Edinburgh and Durham.

Centre Associate Director Dr David Flynn – who is also Director of the Smart Systems Group at Heriot-Watt University – said: “To ensure that the UK has an energy network fit for purpose, we must take a whole systems approach to ensure that the infrastructure (physical assets) and polices that influence its future are focused on a sustainable energy network that is centred on meeting the needs of the society that it serves.

“This new National Energy Systems Centre will provide us with an unparalleled source of data and we must support the energy community in converting that into actionable information to inform policy and design of the energy network. This will allow us to develop solutions that deal with the inherent risk and uncertainty within the energy network so we can confidently inform government policy.

British Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson (brother to Boris) said, “From powering our businesses to monitoring our health and connecting us with friends and family around the world, we all rely on the generation and supply of electricity.

“This new £20 million centre will help us with the next challenge of storing new sources of energy to meet future demand and secure the UK’s leading position in low carbon technologies.”  

One of the greatest achievements of the past century has been the democratisation of comfort and mobility – to the extent that here in the UK we now treat them as something that we enjoy by right, like education and healthcare.

Underpinning all this has been cheap, reliable and plentiful energy. Our energy works. Global warming confronts us with the need to change the sources of energy we use – and how we use them.

Philip New, Chief Exec, Energy Systems CatapultRead the full article by PHILIP NEW (left) Chief Executive of Energy Systems Catapult – one of several new ‘catapults’ set up by the UK government to drive through innovation in energy – EXCLUSIVE to Scottish Energy News at: – http://goo.gl/3edjW7

See also: SCOTLAND’S RENEWABLE FUTURE conference, 26 May 2016 

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