Power networks and storage
Having an energy infrastructure that is fit for purpose is of fundamental importance to the UK's low carbon future and achieving the Government's 2050 targets for reducing the UK's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The power network will need to radically change to incorporate the increased use of electricity as well as increases in renewable energy and a greater level of interconnection. This area focuses on research relating to these networks and includes electricity networks as well as heat and gas on a variety of scales.
The use of renewable energy as a power source in the UK is on the rise. The supply of electricity from these resources differs from conventional power generation in that the power comes from a large number of smaller sites spread over many locations, such as small scale domestic generation from household PV units. Many renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind energy, are more intermittent in their nature and power networks will need to be able to adapt to a constantly changing input. Furthermore, the likely increase in the numbers of electric vehicles will also place greater demands on the power network.
This raises a number of issues for the current power networks which are not built for this purpose. The development of smarter electricity networks are needed to accommodate larger quantities of renewable energy efficiently.