National Grid partners with universities on innovation projects to help deliver net zero

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National Grid Power Systems Research Centre at the University of Manchester (Credit: National Grid)

National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) has signed innovation partnerships with six UK universities that are set to help decarbonise the electricity system in Great Britain and accelerate progress towards net zero.

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

Nicola Todd, Head of Strategy and Innovation at National Grid Electricity Transmission, commented on the announcement: “Innovation will be crucial in helping to achieve a safe, resilient and decarbonised electricity 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 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, using artificial intelligence and data management and analysis.

Professor Gareth Harrison, Deputy Head of School of Engineering in the University of Edinburgh, one of the participating universities, commented: “The University of Edinburgh is delighted to be joining the National Grid Innovation Framework at what is an exciting and pivotal time for the UK electricity supply industry.

“We regard this as a tribute to the Universities history of inter-disciplinary, energy research and an opportunity to apply this to some of the big engineering challenges of our time.

“The University is looking forward to sharing and developing its expertise on power system modelling, power electronics, energy system decarbonisation, and Net-zero.”