Keele University has signed a deal with engineering giant Siemens to turn its campus into Europe’s biggest smart energy network demonstrator.
Integrating electricity, gas and heat, the project will involve the digitalisation of 24 substations, installation over 1,500 smart meters and 500 home controllers, and a 5 MW renewable integration package.
According to Siemens it will be the first facility in Europe for at-scale living laboratory research, development and demonstration of new smart energy technologies and services in partnership with business and industry.
Located in Staffordshire, Keele has the largest university campus in the UK with 12,000 students and staff and 350 mixed used buildings — making its size comparable to a small town.
The demonstrator is intended to represent ‘real world’ infrastructures in the UK, with a mix of technologies from different suppliers used on site. Analysis of the energy consumption on campus will allow demand to be managed locally according to factors such as the number of students on site at any one time and energy needs of individual buildings.
Businesses will be able to access the university’s infrastructure in order to develop and test renewables and smart energy technologies.
Carl Ennis, managing director at Siemens Energy Management, said: “This landmark project will provide a society-based demonstrator for the research community, the energy industry, and local communities. 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.”
The project is funded by Keele University, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).