The funding from Western Power Distribution forms part of £16m awarded to WPD from the power regulator OFGEM through the Low Carbon Network Fund (LCNF). The LCNF includes an annual competition for funding to finance research, development and innovation projects.
The funding will allow researchers from the University to carry out work that will help prepare electricity grids for increased use of low carbon technologies in the future.
The insights from these projects will help customers adopt low carbon technologies and the UK achieve climate change objectives.
The award will fund two new projects and give Bath an additional role in a project that was awarded last year, bringing together multidisciplinary expertise from departments across the University.
Project FALCON (Flexible Approaches to Low Carbon Optimised Networks) tests a range of network and commercial management methods for increasing the local grid’s capacity for handling increased demand and local generation. Dr Ian Walker from the Department of Psychology will lead the project’s national knowledge capture and dissemination strategy. FALCON involves a range of academic and industrial partners around the UK.
Project BRISTOL (Buildings, Renewables and Integrated Storage, with Tariffs to Overcome network Limitations) sees researchers at Bath working on domestic DC power networks and battery storage systems that reduce peaks in electricity supply and demand, and which make integrating renewable energy sources easier and more efficient. BRISTOL will bring together the expertise of Professor Raj Aggarwal, Professor Furong Li and Dr Miles Redfern from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and Dr Ian Walker.
The Low Voltage Network Templates for a Low-Carbon Future project, which was awarded to Professor Li and Dr Gavin Shaddick of the Department of Mathematical Sciences in last year’s round of LCNF funding, focuses on methods for identifying existing usage and pressure points in the low voltage electricity distribution system. This will help to identify the effects of low-carbon technologies, thereby allowing network operators better to prepare for the future. In addition to the original grant, Dr Walker has now been successfully awarded the management of the project’s learning and dissemination work, meaning Bath has now received over £250k from WPD for this project.
Professor Furong Li said: “OFGEM has released funding for a whole raft of projects across the country, and the University of Bath is involved in more of these than any other academic institution.
“The three projects being funded all have tangible benefits that will have impact on our lives as fossil fuels become less available. We are all aware that the modern lifestyle we enjoy relies on electricity, and finding effective ways to generate and manage this beyond the use of fossil fuels is critical and urgent.”
Dr Miles Davis from the University’s Research Development and Support Office, who worked on developing all three bids, added “These awards are a huge vote of confidence in the University from the power industry - they recognise our leading expertise in low-carbon research. Working with WPD will give Bath a central role in work on the future of the UK grid as we move towards a lower-carbon world.”
Roger Hey, Future Networks Manager at WPD, was pleased that the University was supporting WPD’s low carbon programme. “Their academic skills will help deliver long lasting benefits to electricity customers across the country,” he said.