The University of Exeter has formally opened its pioneering new Centre for Smart Grid.

The new Centre is designed to conduct world-leading research to realise the opportunities and meet the challenges of converting the conventional power network towards a low carbon “Smart Grid”, capable of efficiently and resiliently transporting electrical energy from renewable sources to the consumers.

The Centre is aligned to the University’s Strategy 2030, i.e. to lead meaningful actions against the climate emergency and ecological crisis, through its work to create Net-Zero solutions worldwide.

The official opening was attended by 90 guests from electricity transmission and distribution utilities, equipment manufacturers, renewables and energy storage system integrators, solution providers, and representatives of EPSRC, IET and CIGRE.

The event was held on both the Streatham Campus and the Engineering Research Centre at the Exeter Science Park, and keynote speeches were delivered by Sean Coleman from the National Grid, Jie Dai from Scottish and Southern Energy, Andy Wood from East Devon District Council and Peter Crossley from the Centre for Smart Grid. There were also facility tours, demonstrations, and a poster session by the PhD students of the Centre for Smart Grid.

Delivering the opening speech of the event, Professor Neil Gow, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Impact at the University of Exeter said: “Building on the University of Exeter’s ambitious Strategy 2030, the Centre for Smart Grid is already working with multiple partners to identify technological issues and gaps, and to address the innovation needs required to deliver smart and efficient electricity generation, transmission and distribution”.

Prof. Zhongdong Wang, Head of Exeter Energy and Director of the Centre for Smart Grid, thanked all the guests who attended the formal opening of the Centre for Smart Grid in the University of Exeter. She said “The idea of establishing the Centre for Smart Grid at University of Exeter was conceived in 2020, and due to the pandemic, the initial journey was not easy. However, with the strong support of our industrial partners and the University, we are delighted to formally open the Centre. Our ambition is to ensure the University of Exeter becomes one of the leading universities in Electrical Energy and Smart Grid research and teaching within the next five years”.

Since 2021, the University of Exeter, through its Centre for Smart Grid, has become an innovation partner of National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET), alongside Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester, Southampton and Strathclyde. These innovation partnerships aim to enable the transition to a cleaner electricity system through knowledge sharing and the delivery of a culture of innovation. The Centre currently has 5 academic staff, 10 postdoctoral and PhD researchers and £2m research funding. Our focus is maintaining and improving the resilience and reliability of electricity networks, decarbonising the energy system and accelerating global and UK progress towards net zero.