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Enabling distributed energy in a future energy mix - Belfast Event

On the 25th June 2013 the Technology Strategy Board and the Environmental Sustainability KTN in collaboration with Invest Northern Ireland hosted a workshop to examine the future of distributed or localised energy generation, supply and storage (LES) in the UK. It was an opportunity to gather the views of the assembled stakeholders from industry, academia, research and other non-government organisations to assist the TSB in scoping their future funding call which will focus on distributed energy generation and supply, transport, built environment and digital themes. 

The event was opened by Jenni McDonnell from the Environmental Sustainability KTN and Lisa O'Reilly from Invest Northern Ireland followed by an overview of the workshop objectives by Christian Inglis from the Technology Strategy Board. Case studies of successful distributed renewable energy projects were also presented by Neil Stewart from Glen Dimplex as well as reports presented by David Surplus from Matrix (Northern Ireland Science Industry Panel) and Eddie Townsend from the ICTKTN on Community energy systems. All the presentations along with a summary of the discussions from the day can be viewed at the links below. 

1. Lisa O'Reilly, Invest Northern Ireland

2. Jenni McDonnell, Environmental Sustainability KTN

3. Christian Inglis, Technology Strategy Board

4. Eddie Townsend, ICT KTN

5. Neil Stewart, Glen Dimplex

6. David Surplus, Matrix

7. Summary of group discussions including detail on the challenges and potential solutions suggested by the delegates.

The assembled delegates produced a ranked list of technology challenges that could be addressed with support from the Technology Strategy Board's future competition in this area which is described below.

In order of importance

Energy Storage at a localised scale (54 votes)

With particular focus on hydrogen, ammonia, nitrogen and methane storage technologies.

Demand and Supply Management in the home (35 votes)

Develop technologies to allow consumers to control the use of energy in the home and to monitor people’s behaviour in terms of how they use energy, accurate to below 33KVA

Addressing the fluctuating grid (25 votes)

Develop technologies that balance energy on the grid and distribution networks and ensure quality of supply for domestic and industrial consumers.

Understanding the business models required for localised energy generation. (23 votes)

Business models that are designed for community energy or localised energy systems to provide investor assurance

Urban versus Rural and Domestic versus Commercial systems (19 votes)

Local energy systems need to be tailored to the specific case. Systems for a rural area may not be suitable for an urban setting so technologies need to be developed to cater for both situations.

Ability to switch between energy sources (16 votes)

Develop technologies that allow the operator to switch from one energy source to another easily i.e. renewable to gas or nuclear

Integrated Building management systems (15 votes)

Develop an integrated management system at the distribution operator level or commercial/Industrial scale. For instance a large industrial site will require a control system to allow them to generate their own power and manage how and when it is used.

Aggregated Distributed Networks (14 votes)

Exploring the possibility of linking together several distributed networks in a region to assist with load balancing. Create a middle level of energy balancing hierarchy to reduce the strain on the national grid and share local resources.

In home price signalling and net metering (14 votes)

Technologies are needed that allow consumers to see price changes in real time to allow them to make better use of low cost/low demand times of day.

Transmission Losses (7 votes)

Capitalise on the reduce transmission losses achieved by generating the energy where it is needed. Develop technologies that reduce the transmission losses i.e. upgrade the infrastructure with improved technology.

Improved user experience of public transport (5 votes)

Develop transportation that is more user friendly and environmentally friendly. Transport passes to allow consumers to use any type of public transport in a local energy system.

Weather Forecasting tools (2 votes)

Develop tools that allow the operator to accurately predict weather patterns in real time using the met office data with local energy system data.

Understanding the optimal scale for local energy systems (2 votes)

Is it possible to develop a predict model that could establish the optimal scale for a local energy system?

System Level Analysis (1 vote)

Comparison of all the options for local energy systems to help different regions to choose the best solution for them

DC Enabled systems (0 vote)

Develop local energy systems so that all appliances and systems within the community are DC enabled. Plug and play connectors to allow them to be compatible across Europe.


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