Prospering from the energy revolution
An overview of government’s challenge to industry and research to create more efficient energy systems and benefit the UK economy from the global uptake.
What is the energy revolution challenge?
Smart energy systems can provide cheaper, cleaner energy to users by intelligently linking energy supply, demand and storage across power, heating and transport provision. It’s a huge market opportunity, with $2 trillion a year estimated to be invested in global energy infrastructure.
The programme aims to unlock the potential of intelligent local energy systems by funding business and researchers to work together with local organisations to show how new systems can deliver cleaner, cheaper, investable energy systems while creating high value jobs across the UK.
In doing so, it will meet government’s priorities set out in the Clean Growth Strategy, the Smart Energy Systems and Flexibility Plan and Industrial Strategy’s clean growth pillar. It will help the UK to meet air quality targets at lower investment costs, avoid power cuts and ensure its compliance with the fifth carbon budget (from 2028).
What is the investment?
The government will invest up to £102.5 million in industry and researchers to develop smart systems that can support the global move to renewable energy.
What is the opportunity?
While the majority of funding has been allocated to UK businesses and researchers, key opportunities remain for all in learning from the ongoing projects and scaling their outputs to new locations across the country. Look out for ongoing showcases and communications from the programme team.
Four local energy demonstrators were funded in April 2019. These will be built over the next 3 years to illustrate how integrated intelligent local systems can deliver power, heat and mobility to users in new and better ways.
The funded projects are:
The Energy Superhub Oxford
Project lead – Pivot Power (part of EDF Renewables)
Consortia: Habitat Energy, Invinity Energy Systems, Kensa Contracting, Oxford City Council and the University of Oxford
Energy Superhub Oxford will showcase a powerful network of rapid electric vehicle charging, hybrid battery energy storage, low carbon heating and smart energy management technologies to accelerate Oxford City Council's journey to zero carbon. ESO aims to deliver savings of 10,000 tonnes of CO2 per year by 2021, rising to 25,000 tonnes per year by 2032.
Project lead – European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)
Consortia: Aquatera, Community Energy Scotland, Heriot-Watt University, Orkney Islands Council and Solo Energy
The ReFLEX (Responsive Flexibility) Orkney project will demonstrate a first-of-its-kind integrated Virtual Energy System (IES), interlinking local electricity, transport and heat networks into one system. The project aims to create a ‘smart energy island’, demonstrating the energy system of the future, which will reduce and eventually eliminate the need for fossil fuels.
Project Leo (Local Energy Oxfordshire)
Project lead – Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks
Consortia: EDF Energy, Nuuve, Open Utility, Origami Energy, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council, The Low Carbon Hub C.I.C. and the University of Oxford
Project LEO will take a Distribution System Operator (DSO) approach to implementing new energy projects across the city, and to facilitating future forecasting and planning. A local energy marketplace will enable virtual aggregation of loads and the ability to dispatch flexibility across a range of projects, as well as execute local peer-to-peer trading. A data interface with the DSO will enable better active network management and visibility/forecasting of local constraints.
Smart Hub SLES
Project lead – Connected Energy
Consortia: ITM Power, ICAX, Moixa Technology, Passiv- Systems, West Sussex County Council, Newcastle University
Smarthubs SLES in West Sussex will integrate energy management across council housing, transport infrastructure and private residential and commercial properties. The project will deploy innovative technologies, including a hydrogen filling station, alongside established but not widely deployed technologies like hybrid gas/electric heat networks, EV charging points and battery energy storage.
The designs will 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. Focussing on areas the size of towns, cities and regions, these projects are leading on the development of ideas, business models, and local energy markets to deliver net zero living.
We ran the design competitions across two phases. The first phase funded eleven, six month long feasibility studies for experimental new approaches. The second phase is delivering ten designs of future local energy systems at significant scale. The designs are a diverse portfolio of projects targeting areas across the country with rural, urban, domestic, industrial, commercial and mixed energy systems.
Modernising Energy Data Access (MEDA)
An essential enabler of future innovation for local systems is opening up access to energy data (networks, assets etc) to enable the future development of agile policy and regulation alongside the development of new consumer applications.
The MEDA competition will accelerate the development of tools and processes to modernise data services for the energy sector. This is delivered in 3 phases (discovery, alpha and beta) with the beta concluding mid 2021.
We will run a further competition from October 2020 to deliver projects that utilise the ‘common data architecture’ developed through MEDA to develop data driven applications (MEDApps) for local energy systems.
See also the blog on MEDA and MEDApps
Key Technologies for Local Energy Systems
We are funding collaborative technology component research and development projects that could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Smart local energy systems. Approaches are:
- Improving energy networks (hardware and software)
- Integration energy networks (distribution and transmission)
- Integrating energy markets (local and national)
- Optimising generation across multiple sites
- Heat networks
- Hot and cold storage
- Better coupling of heat, transport and electricity.
Research and integration services
We have invested £10 million into EnergyREV, a consortium focused on researching intelligent local energy systems and accelerating their uptake. The consortium is led by the University of Strathclyde and includes 29 investigators across 22 universities, working to ensure that UK academic expertise delivers impact and a competitive advantage.
The consortium will work alongside the ERIS (Energy Revolution Integration Service) research team led by the Energy Systems Catapult who will provide insight from, support to, and evaluation of the projects funded under the prospering from the energy revolution challenge
Energy Superhub Oxford: pioneering the smart energy revolution.
A £41 million project aims to show how innovative battery technology can support the National Grid, heat homes and charge cars, vans and trucks.
Corby microgrid: developing smart energy of the future
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BankEnergi: Creating a local energy economy in London's South Bank
A consortium in London is developing a smarter, more sustainable, more affordable model of local energy use
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