University of Exeter: Exeter partners with National Grid on innovation projects to help deliver Net Zero

Exeter is one of six universities across the UK to sign innovation partnerships with the National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET), it has been announced.

Researchers, analysts and academics from Exeter, as well as Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester, Southampton and Strathclyde universities, will partner with NGET colleagues on innovation projects across a wide range of areas related to NGET’s work managing the electricity network in Great Britain.

The partnerships, which cover the five year period of the RIIO-2 price control from 2021 to 2026, will help to enable the transition to a cleaner electricity system through knowledge sharing and creation of a culture of innovation, both between NGET and individual universities and as an entire collective.

The collaborations will also focus on innovative new approaches to NGET’s day to day management of the network, calling on the knowledge and expertise of the universities to ensure a continued focus on resilience and security of supply.

Other focus areas include low emissions technologies and new power electronics applications, as well as increasing the digitalisation of the power system, through the use of artificial intelligence and data management and analysis.

The partnerships will help to develop and deliver innovation projects in the following areas:

Electricity transmission network asset design, operation and maintenance
Power system modelling and simulation
Power electronics applications for electricity transmission networks
Digitalisation of power system including data management and analysis, robotics, virtual and augmented reality and artificial intelligence applications for transmission networks.
Energy system decarbonisation including low emission technologies and whole system modelling
Professor Zhongdong Wang FIEEE FIET, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences and the Director of the Centre for Smart Grid, University of Exeter said: “The Research Framework with National Grid is a milestone for Smart Grid Research at the University of Exeter and is closely aligned with our strategy to promote affordable Low Carbon Energy, which is a fundamental component of a Green Environmental and Economic Future.”

Nicola Todd, Head of Strategy and Innovation at National Grid Electricity Transmission said, “Innovation will be crucial in helping to achieve a safe, resilient and decarbonised energy system. Collaborations such as these will enable us to move faster and further, unlocking new technologies, processes and systems that will make our network cleaner, at the same time as driving costs down for consumers.”

The partnership comes as the University of Exeter launches a pioneering new education programme in Electrical Power and Smart Grids.

The Masters-level Engineering programme focuses on planning, operation, control and maintenance of the future digitalised Smart Grid, with particular emphasis on the challenges associated with Net-Zero and Low Carbon futures.

The programme will ensure graduates will be able to take leading roles in achieving Net-Zero targets with cutting-edge technologies and data analytics for Smart Grid.

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