A new £20m centre to help study the energy network and prepare it for the future is to be housed by Newcastle University.
The EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration will examine the UK’s energy system as a whole, looking at fossil fuels, renewables, heating, cooling and energy efficiency. Its aim is to pave the way to a flexible smart infrastructure, promoting energy security while at the same time helping the UK meet its carbon targets.
“Electricity generation is undergoing fundamental change,” said centre lead Phil Taylor, Siemens Professor of Energy Systems at Newcastle University. “Many existing fossil fuel power stations will be decommissioned in the coming 15 years and new sources of generation are coming on stream.”
“This new National Centre will provide us with robust information about energy usage in the real world, enabling us to develop methods to deal with the inherent risk and uncertainty so we can confidently inform government policy. It gives us an opportunity here in the UK to really drive forward the smart energy revolution and become international leaders in this space.”
Funding for the centre is being provided by the EPSRC, Siemens and Newcastle University. It will be located at Newcastle’s £250m Science Central development, a project seeking to bring together academia, the public sector, communities, business and industry in the heart of the city. Ready-made test facilities are already in place there, including a demonstrator site which houses a geothermal borehole, grid scale energy storage test bed and smart grid, and a combined heat and power system. Academics from the universities of Newcastle, Heriot-Watt, Sussex, Edinburgh and Durham will come together to conduct the centre’s research.
“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,” said Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson.
“This £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.”