Integrated smart energy lab launched in northeast England


The Integrated Smart Energy Lab (ISE Lab) combines smart energy research and testing capabilities across northeastern England.

The £9 million ($12 million) ISE Lab, an initiative by the North East Energy Catalyst partnership, includes digital and physical assets across multiple locations interconnected via high performance virtual platforms and should enable new smart energy research, demonstration and industry engagement.

Specifically, the ISE Lab combines Newcastle University’s Smart Grid Laboratory and Urban Science Building Energy Storage Test Bed, Durham University’s Smart Grid Laboratory for demand-centric testing, decentralised testing and digitalised and data-centric testing, and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s 3MW and 15MW powertrain test, demonstration and research assets, including its 18MVA Grid Emulation system.

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Targeting all grid levels and supply-demand scenarios across the whole energy system, from national transmission grid level to local consumer, building and microgrid levels, the ISE Lab will combine modelling with live ‘real world’ asset and network data from sources such as EV charging, battery storage, hydrogen electrolysis and energy generation.

The Lab also will offer new capabilities for those seeking to innovate and commercialise smart energy solutions, such as energy companies, SMEs, academia and the regional supply chain.

“The national grid was first pioneered in the northeast so it is fitting that we are now the region bringing forward a new and unique lab facility that will help us better explore and exploit the benefits of integrated energy systems. This speaks to the strength of collaboration within our region,” said Andrew Clark, energy lead at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership which facilitates the North East Energy Catalyst.

The North East Energy Catalyst partnership was formed to unite the region’s leading energy innovation, demonstration and delivery capabilities to tackle major energy challenges and drive new economic growth opportunities as well as accelerate regional decarbonisation.

A portfolio of projects with industry, academic and public sector partners is now under development for the ISE Lab, facilitated by the North East Energy Catalyst partnership.

Other partners include Northern Powergrid, Northern gas Networks and Northumbrian Water.