- £21m awarded to 10 ground-breaking smart energy projects across UK from Coleraine to Rugeley to trial new technology which could become a blueprint for greener localised energy generation on the road to net zero
- Projects include generating geothermal energy from canals and old coal mineshafts and a heat network warming homes from the London underground
- Further £4.5 million for Key Technology Components for Local Energy Systems
- Fourth phase of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) will see £22 million allocated to UK institutions to undertake research on the decarbonisation of key sectors
Thousands of people could see their energy bills cut and their homes powered by local, renewable energy thanks to new government funding. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Distributed Generation: Minigrid Microgrid Zero Emission 2018-2038.
Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng, said: "Every corner of the UK has a part to play as we eliminate our contribution to climate change entirely by 2050. This innovative projects will deliver energy savings and reduce carbon emissions - a win-win for communities and the environment."
If successful, the community pilot projects, which span from Liverpool and Coventry, to Southend and Milford Haven, could revolutionise local energy generation - bringing local communities into the frontline in the fight against climate change.
The competition ran as part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Prospering from the Energy Revolution challenge and will contribute to the goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The winners hope to create a pipeline of highly innovative, ambitious and investable local energy system designs that will be ready to roll out across the UK in the 2020s.
Rob Saunders, Challenge Director, Prospering from the Energy Revolution, UKRI said "This innovative project provides new approaches to delivering our net zero commitments by delivering cleaner, cheaper energy services while creating more prosperous and resilient communities. But as well as their benefits to consumers, this project, as part of the Clean Growth Industrial Strategy Grand Challenge, place UK industry at the forefront of the global shift to clean energy systems and economies."
The competition winners include:
- Zero Carbon Rugeley - will deliver a detailed design of a smart local energy system for Rugeley Town and its local area, including the 2,300 houses being built in the former ENGIE Rugeley Power Station.
- Peterborough Integrated Renewables Infrastructure (PIRI) - will integrate low-carbon energy provisions and support sustainable growth. By integrating electrification, mobility and heat provision, the design will maximise low-carbon energy exploitation, accelerate low-carbon technology adoption and enhance the overarching energy system - providing a project that can be fully replicated in other areas.
- REWIRE-NW - proposes new market arrangements that pave the way for change. By using 5G and data-centric intelligence, the project will drive the local energy systems towards lower costs and lower carbon outcomes.
- Project REMeDY - based in Southend, will develop their Horizontally Integrated Vertical Energy Systems (HIVES) approach to produce a local energy system design covering the whole of the large town of Southend that is replicable across the UK.
- Milford Haven Energy Kingdom - centred in Milford Haven, will focus on developing diverse, local seed markets to support the transition to hydrogen and renewables from fossil fuels. The funding will also allow their design to be developed to meet the heating and transportation needs of local communities, including local tourism to the area.
UKRI have also announced the winners of the Key Technology Components for Local Energy Systems competition, which share a further £4.5 million of funding with the aim to develop technology components that help improve the efficiency of local energy systems. These winners include technology that enables the charging of electric taxis and private electric vehicles at railway stations from the rail traction power supply.
In addition, UKRI has also announced £22 million of funding to enable engineers, social scientists and natural scientists to conduct vital research on global energy challenges and their implications for the UK.
The fourth phase of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) will see £22 million allocated to UK institutions to undertake research on the decarbonisation of key sectors such as industry, transport and heat, and explore the role of local, national and global changes in energy systems. (link to web story)
The centre has also today announced that Dr Robert Gross, from Imperial College London, has been appointed as its new director. Dr Gross, who is one of UKERC's co-directors, succeeds Professor Jim Watson, who has been UKERC director since 2015.
The 10 local smart energy design projects are
- West Midlands Regional Energy System Operator (RESO) - Coventry
- GIRONA - Coleraine, Causeway Coast and Glens
- Peterborough Integrated Renewables Infrastructure (PIRI) - Peterborough
- GreenSCIES 2 - Green Smart Community Integrated Energy Systems - Islington (London)
- Zero Carbon Rugeley - Rugeley
- GM Local Energy Market - Greater Manchester
- Project REMeDY - spearheading a Revolution in Energy Market Design - Southend
- Energy Kingdom - Milford Haven
- Multi-vector Energy Exchange - Liverpool
- REWIRE-NW - Warrington
The Key Technology Components for Local Energy Systems competition winners are:
About the UK Energy Research Centre
Hosted by UCL, UKERC encompasses 17 universities, the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chatham House and the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and is funded through the UKRI Energy Programme by UKRI's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council.
UKERC's research programme will build evidence to inform decisions that shape the UK's transition towards a net zero energy system and economy. It will explore the potential economic, political, social and environmental costs and benefits of energy system change, and consider how these impacts can be distributed equitably.
UKERC will also host and curate energy data, map and monitor public engagement, carry out systematic evidence reviews and improve the transparency and understanding of energy models.
UKRI is providing £18 million support for the fourth phase of UKERC, with partners contributing £4 million.
Source: Four Communications