UKRI maps out government’s approach to creating new smart energy systems

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has set out an overview of how the government is looking to take advantage of the “huge market opportunity” from smart energy systems.

According to UKRI, an estimated $2tn will be invested in global energy infrastructure a year, with smart energy systems a notable opportunity owed to their ability to intelligently link energy supply, storage and use, and power heating and transport in ways that can dramatically improve efficiency. To this end, the UK government is investing up to £102.5mn in industry and researchers to develop smart systems that can support this global move to renewable energy.

This has included four local energy demonstrators, funded in April 2019, that will be built over the next three years, aiming to illustrate how integrated intelligent local systems are able to deliver power, heat and mobility to users in new and better ways. One such project is the Energy Superhub Oxford, led by Pivot Power, which is to showcase electric vehicle (EV) charging, energy storage systems, low carbon heating and smart energy management technologies to support Oxford City Council’s journey to zero carbon.

ReFLEX Orkney is another to receive backing, as is Project Leo (Local Energy Oxfordshire) and Smart Hub SLES. Led by the European Marine Energy entre, ReFLEX Orkney will demonstrate a first-of-its-kind Virtual Energy System interlinking local electricity, transport and heat networks into one system. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ Project Leo will take a Distribution System Operator (DSO) approach to implementing new energy projects across the city as well as to when it comes to facilitating future forecasting and planning.

In West Sussex, Smart HUB SLES, led by Advanced Infrastructure, is a project where energy management will be integrated across council housing, private residential properties, transport infrastructure and commercial properties. A number of innovative technologies will be deployed alongside more established, albeit not widely deployed, technologies such as hybrid gas and electricity heat networks.