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net zero grid

Funding announced to accelerate the transition to net zero

Published on: 5 April 2022

Newcastle University experts are part of a new project to speed up the transition to a net zero grid through energy storage technologies.

The £1.2m EPSRC grant will help collaborators determine how different energy storage devices and technologies can be integrated into the grid to achieve the UK’s net zero by 2050 target.

Balancing supply and demand raises significant challenges for UK energy networks. These can be partly attributed to the capacity of storage at points between production and use, and the capability of the infrastructure to deliver.

Power grids are at the heart of the transition to achieving the country’s net zero goals. A net zero grid would need to be resilient, robust and reliable, integrating renewable generation and withstanding constantly changing supply and demand patterns as well as extreme weather conditions.

The future energy system will increasingly rely on renewables which supply energy intermittently. We are also then still reliant on carbon-based backup generation, such as gas, to fill any shortfall. 

A collaborative team of researchers, led by the University of Sheffield, working with the Universities of Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Oxford, has received £1.2m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to determine how to increase the current storage capacities and associated scale-up and integration of energy storage technologies into the grid.

Dr Haris Patsios, Senior Lecturer in Power Systems at the School of Engineering, is the Newcastle University lead. He said: "This collaborative project between five top Russel Group universities presents a fantastic opportunity to tackle some of the most important challenges of modern and future power networks, by investigating the application of distributed energy storage. Our goal is to produce a roadmap for unlocking the full value of such assets.

“At Newcastle University we will be researching how to optimally site and schedule the operation of such systems under a variety of future scenarios, and determine benefits and impacts for different levels of stakeholder coordination across network location, asset scale, and various energy markets. As a whole the project stands out as a perfect example of an outstanding and long-lasting partnership and collaboration between these five fine institutions."

The work will be underpinned by experiments using operational grid-scale storage demonstrators operated within the consortium.

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