UK to host Europe’s largest smart energy hub

Keele University has appointed Siemens to turn its Staffordshire-based campus into Europe’s largest single, integrated electricity, gas and heat Smart Energy Network Demonstrator.

John Novac, Global Head of Distributed Energy Systems at Siemens, and Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice Chancellor of Keele University, with Keele Chancellor Sir Jonathon Porritt CBE.

It will be the first facility in Europe for at-scale living laboratory research, development and demonstration of new smart energy technologies and services in partnership with business and industry.

The project will be involving the digitalisation of 24 substations, the installation over 1,500 smart meters, 500 home controllers and a 5 MW renewable integration package.

The Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND) builds on Keele University’s investment in its energy and other utility networks over many years.

SEND is funded by Keele University, BEIS and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme.

Professor Mark Ormerod, Deputy vice-chancellor and Provost of Keele University, commented: “Keele University is part of the Smart Energy Alliance, along with local partner Stoke-on-Trent City Council, and there is real momentum building in the area for developing intelligent, sustainable and low carbon energy networks as a catalyst for economic growth within the city and beyond.”

Carl Ennis, managing director at Siemens Energy Management said: “This landmark project will provide a society-based demonstrator for the research community, the energy industry, and local communities.

“It will be at the centre of a smart and flexible network of energy supply and storage – which will reduce emissions, improve security of supply to the campus and be open to further innovation from the academic community.

“We are seeing decentralised energy as a key trend in the UK and are delighted to work with an innovative partner such as Keele University to drive this intelligent energy technology forward.”

The demonstrator will be a representation of “real world” infrastructures in the UK with a mix of technologies from different suppliers used on site.

This will enable a smart analysis of energy consumption for the campus, so that demand can be better managed locally according to factors such as the number of students on site at any one time and energy needs of individual buildings.

The project will also allow businesses to access the University’s unique infrastructure in order to develop and test renewables and smart energy technologies.