The University of Strathclyde is part of a global effort to create 100% renewable energy power grids worldwide.
The new Electric Power Innovation for a Carbon-free Society (EPICS) centre, based at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in the US, brings together international partners in the UK, US, and Australia to decarbonise the global energy sector.
Led in the UK by Imperial College London, the new centre has been funded for five years and enables academia to collaborate on research with electricity system operators around the world including National Grid ESO in the UK, Eirgird in Ireland, AEMO in Australia and CAISO in California.
EPICS, which officially launches on November 1, aims to become a global scientific leader in renewable energy integration.
The £6.67 million project will provide answers about the innovations and changes needed in today’s power grid management and institutions to meet the demand of a grid with 100 per cent renewable energy that is sustainable, affordable, reliable and resilient.
Professor Keith Bell, holder of the Scottish Power Chair in Future Power Systems who is leading Strathclyde’s input to the centre, said:
This is a unique, and uniquely powerful, international collaboration. Electricity provides proven means of decarbonising our use of energy, something that’s increasingly urgent as the effects of climate change become ever more evident. Power from renewables is also the way of reducing our vulnerability to fossil fuel price shocks.
“In the UK we’ve been tremendously successful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the production of electricity, cutting them by nearly seventy per cent since 2010. However, getting rid of the remaining thirty per cent is not a done deal. New technologies using power electronics are tremendously flexible but we need to learn how to manage interactions between very large numbers of them, and how to most cost-effectively manage the variability of wind and solar resources and deliver highly reliable supply of electricity all year round.
“These are challenges faced in every country across the world, but they’re solvable given the right investment and the right teams of people working together.”
Professor Mark O’Malley, UK lead of EPICS and Leverhulme Professor of Power Systems at Imperial College London, said: “A global collaborative approach with our academic partners and global industry and policy stakeholders from the Global Power System Transformation Consortium, Energy Systems Integration Group, and Future Power Markets Forum is exactly what’s needed to spearhead such an effort. I look forward to working with our global and UK partners to make 100 per cent renewable energy a reality.”
The UK, the US, Canada and Australia, are investing £61M in the US National Science Foundation’s Global Centers to develop solutions to the climate crisis.  The UK investment of £18M across four projects is funded through UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI’s) Building a Green Future fund and International Science Partnerships Fund.
The Global Centers will conduct innovative research to tackle hard-to-decarbonise sectors across the UK economy, accelerating transformative socioeconomic and technological innovation and driving the energy transition to reach the UK’s net zero targets by 2050.
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and Social Science and Humanities Research Council in Canada, and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia, are also investing in the centres.
Dame Ottoline Leyser, CEO of UKRI, said: “UKRI’s Building a Green Future Programme aims to harness the power of research and innovation to tackle hard-to-decarbonise sectors in our economy. We are excited to be partnering with our sister organisations in the US, Canada and Australia to accelerate progress toward this crucial goal.”
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The University of Strathclyde is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, number SC015263.