WSA to lead on sustainable energy institute for Wales

The Schools of Architecture and Engineering are among the partners in the new all-Wales Low Carbon Research Institute, which aims to make Wales an international showcase for sustainable energy use.

The Welsh Assembly Government is providing 5.1M in funding for the Institute, which will co-ordinate research on low carbon energy generation, storage and distribution together with energy demand reduction.

The Institute will be led by the Welsh School of Architecture. Other research partners are School of Engineering - Cardiff University, School of Chemistry - University of Wales Bangor, Sustainable Environment Research Centre - University of Glamorgan, School of Engineering - University of Wales, Swansea.

The institute will have four main themes:

  • Low carbon energy generation, storage and distribution. Areas of research will include wind and tidal power generation, biomass microgeneration sites, more efficient photovoltaic electricity technology, fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, and more sustainable coal and gas powered energy.
  • Energy demand reduction. This will include research into low carbon buildings, energy controls for industry and greater use of waste heat.
  • An Energy Graduate School. This will offer courses on energy to create a highly skilled Welsh workforce familiar with sustainability issues.
  • Partnerships with industry, research organisations and Government to help translate research into practice. The possibility of creating new energy industries for Wales will be explored. The institute will also advise the Welsh Assembly Government on delivery of its energy policy.

Announcing the funding, Welsh Assembly Government First Minister Rhodri Morgan said; "We need to engage with Welsh institutions and organisations to find a Welsh solution to the challenge of climate change that in no way compromises the competiveness, in fact should boost, the Welsh economy and the establishment of a Low Carbon Institute will help to develop our research expertise and boost Wales international competiveness."

Professor Phil Jones, Head of the Welsh School of Architecture, said: "Energy demand and supply is vital to Wales' future, and the nation has great potential to exploit a range of low carbon technologies.

"The Institute will seek to achieve more affordable low carbon energy costs, improve energy efficiency from different sources, reduce energy demand across all sectors, make Wales less dependent on imported fuels and reduce climate change."