Professor Li Ran (School of Engineering) and collaborators at Western Power Distribution have received a grant from OFGEM's Low Carbon Network Fund. The School will receive over £600,000 for its part of the project, aiming to revolutionise the power network in Birmingham. Other collaborators include Birmingham City Council, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Cofely. The Warwick co-investigator for the project is Dr Olayiwola Alatise, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering.
The initiative involves installing new types of equipment at ten substations across the city centre to strengthen the existing electricity network, as well as developing an advanced computer control system. The solutions will allow enough additional generation to be connected to power up to 200,000 homes and businesses.
By allowing the additional generation to connect into the city’s grid, the project also supports the further development of the city’s heat networks – where interconnected pipes transport hot water from generating stations.
The Birmingham network already provides greener heating to locations such as the Children’s Hospital, the new Central Library and the International Conference Centre amongst others.
Councillor James McKay, Cabinet Member for Green, Safe and Smart City, was pleased to hear about the funding for WPD’s project. “This facilitates the connection of additional and widespread distributed generation in the Birmingham area, specifically Combined Heat and Power units, and it is most welcome,” he said.
Professor Philip Mawby is the lead academic for the Energy strand of the University of Warwick’s Global Research Priorities programme. He said: “We are delighted to be part of the team delivering this exciting and innovative project that will help start the transformation of the distribution network that is so important to the delivery of the future electricity grid infrastructure.”
Work on the project begins immediately.