The UK is a world-leader in Smart Grid technology and Flexibility has a key role to play as we move towards a decarbonised, decentralised and digitised network. Claire Perry, Energy and Clean Growth Minister, recently announced four smart energy systems demonstrator projects across the UK. They range from charging electric vehicles and managing heating and power through machine learning to storing power with lithium ion batteries and using heat pumps. The projects are designed to show how the very latest in energy innovation can help to provide cheaper, cleaner energy for us all.
The projects include:
- The Energy Superhub, Oxford, led by Pivot Power LLP
- Incorporating what is claimed to be the world’s first transmission-connected hybrid battery system using lithium-ion batteries alongside redox flow machines supplied by redT. A network of 320 ground source heat pumps will be installed and AI-powered software will be adopted to forecast energy demand and supply.
- ReFLEX Orkney, Orkney, led by the European Marine Energy Centre
- Establishing a virtual energy system on the isle, combining local power transport and heat networks into centrally controlled system. Peer-to-peer energy trading networks will be introduced alongside storage and electric vehicle-related technologies.
- Project Leo (Local Energy Oxfordshire), led by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks
- Establishing a local energy marketplace in Oxford, enabling virtual aggregation of loads and the dispatch of flexibility on the Oxfordshire distribution grid.
- Smart Hub SLES, West Sussex, led by Advanced Infrastructure
- Work on the integration of energy management technologies across council housing, private residential properties, commercial properties and transport infrastructure throughout West Sussex.
These projects are designed to show how businesses can develop local energy approaches at scale. All with the aim of creating better energy outcomes for consumers and promoting economic growth for the UK. Working to a deadline of the early 2020s, their aim is to prove that smarter local energy systems can deliver cleaner and cheaper energy services.
Claire Perry stated: “We are at the start of a green revolution, as we move to more digital, data-driven smart systems that will bring us cleaner and cheaper energy. These projects, backed by government funding, are set to spark a transformation and change the way we interact with energy for the better as part of our modern Industrial Strategy.
We’re excited to see how these businesses and project partners reveal how innovative tech, such as energy storage, heat networks and electric vehicles, can set us on the path to a smarter energy future. This is tomorrow’s world, today”.
The Government is investing in a new “Prospering from the Energy Revolution Challenge” and UK Research and Innovation has announced further details of its fund for research and industry to develop future smart energy systems and prove their use at scale.
Rob Saunders the Deputy Challenge Director from Prospering from the Energy Revolution, UK Research and Innovation said: “We all need energy systems that are cheaper, cleaner and consumer-friendly. We have a great opportunity with these demonstrators to show just how innovation can deliver this energy ambition for the future. These projects can drive investment, create high-quality jobs and grow companies with export potential”. Which is great news for the UK and the energy industry as a whole.
The £102.5 million Prospering from the Energy Revolution Challenge will develop cutting-edge capabilities locally that deliver cleaner, cheaper and more resilient energy for consumers, while also creating high-value jobs for the UK.
Cleaner energy aligned with jobs growth appears – there’s nothing not to like in this scenario! Bringing together businesses working with the best research brains and technical expertise will transform the way energy is delivered and used. Providing energy that customers want by linking low-carbon power, heating and transport systems with energy storage and advanced IT to create intelligent local energy systems and services.
This really is tomorrow’s world, today!
With the projects mentioned above demonstrating new, smarter, local energy approaches at scale, providing cleaner, cheaper energy which leads to more resilient and self-sufficient communities, they will also prove the models work and can be replicated. Ultimately leading higher levels of investment and growth in the sector – and therefore jobs.
The funding has allowed the UK to create the best environment for research and innovation to flourish, creating more jobs and opening up opportunities. However, for this to be sustainable market expertise and knowledge, and people who are used to operating in the marketplace, need to be nurtured and training put in place to ensure skills are available for the future. Investment also needs to be made in training and education to ensure that we’re not only leading the field today but are well placed for years to come.
As we’re moving into new areas and different technologies, we need to ensure the skills are in the sector to keep up this momentum. The war for talent in this area is likely to increase (as roles in new technologies become ever more technical) and therefore getting smarter, skilled and experienced candidates is only going to become more challenging.
That’s why at ALLEN & YORK we’re focusing on this area right now. With an Energy Sector specific team, keeping up with technical innovation, employment market movement, skills and technologies, we can provide businesses with the best candidates and those candidates with the best roles.