Whole energy system innovation coming in Britain


The University of Strathclyde’s Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC) and Energy Systems Catapult’s Living Lab are to collaborate on whole energy systems research.

Consumers becoming prosumers is bringing new demands in the energy system as they become active players in the networks and markets, with new financial and regulatory implications.

Testing of new models in real world situations is key to their development and uptake and this is the proposal of the new partnership between PNDC and the Living Lab.

PNDC considers itself a unique facility with an ability to research multi-vector energy systems.

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The Living Lab is likewise a unique facility, comprised of around 200 smart homes across England, Scotland and Wales that are available for vendors to test new home energy products and services.

With the new partnership establishing a ‘Whole Energy Systems Accelerator’, interactions between activity in homes, energy networks, and market and policy frameworks will be enabled to be tested concurrently across many different future energy scenarios.

“WESA industrial partners will be drawn from the heat, transport, electricity and communications sectors, delivering an unparalleled mix of technology and commercial expertise,” says Richard Knight, Director for Strategy and Technology at PNDC.

“By drawing on existing facilities, WESA could be scaled quickly – enabling a programme of innovator support and policy design to have impact as early as this year.”

Rebecca Sweeney, Business lead for the Living Lab, adds: “We need to ensure the combination of smart technology and human behaviour works concurrently with the physics of the energy systems to create robust physical and market systems fit for net zero. Working together, we can draw on a broad network of commercial and academic collaboration partners across all sectors of the energy industry.”

With the need for smart sector integration, with decarbonisation required across sectors including heat, transport and industry in addition to energy, whole energy system research will be a key towards achieving net zero.