Keele University will deploy the Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND) project on its campus to test “real world” energy infrastructures and technologies onsite. The project is receiving up to £9m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund and £4.5m from various Government departments, including the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The campus will act as Europe’s first “at scale”, multi-energy vector living laboratory to test low-carbon technologies and systems which can be researched, tested and scaled-up. More than 24 substations will be digitalised, 1,500 smart meters installed and 5MW of renewable energy placed across the campus, which consists of 350 mixed use buildings and is similar in size to a small town.

Keele University’s deputy vice-chancellor professor Mark Ormerod said: “The Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND) is a fantastic example of innovation delivering really tangible results for Keele University, businesses and the wider UK economy, as well as major societal benefits.

“It puts Keele and our campus at the forefront of the new, more sustainable, energy landscape – the technology being deployed represents a revolution in smart energy technology for UK universities… 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.”

The SEND project will track smart analysis of energy consumption on campus, enabling systems to react to the demand and energy needs of individual buildings. The project will also offer businesses the chance to develop and test renewables and smart energy technologies on campus.

Smart supply

Siemens has been appointed to oversee the transformation, which will help reduce emissions and improve energy security at the campus.

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

“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 SEND project is the latest UK-based project being heralded as a major milestone on the journey towards low-carbon, flexible energy solutions.

Last week, developers secured a contract to deliver England’s “biggest shared ground loop heat pump system“, which is expected to reduce the energy bills of local residents by up to 50%. Kensa Contracting, which is heading up the scheme alongside French utility firm Engie, said it will connect retrofitted heat pumps in 400 flats to the largest collection of district arrays of its kind.

In the same week, the UK’s biggest portfolio of utility-scale enhanced frequency response battery storage sites was also completed. The 50MW portfolio spans two sites including a 40MW battery park in Glassenbury, Kent and a 10MW battery park in Cleator, Cumbria.

Matt Mace

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