Meeting energy demands of the future

21 March 2016

 FLEXIS

Multi-million pound project will attract business, create jobs and position Wales as a pioneer in energy systems

Cardiff University are to lead a £24m project aimed at developing new ways of managing future energy systems.

The project, entitled FLEXIS, will bring together world-leading expertise from Welsh universities to tackle some of the most pressing issues currently facing society, such as climate change, rising energy prices and fuel poverty.

The five-year EU-backed project was announced today by Welsh Government Finance Minister Jane Hutt AM during a visit to the University.

The FLEXIS project, which also includes Swansea University and the University of South Wales, will set out to meet the diverse, complex and inter-dependent challenges that arise when new sources of energy are integrated into the grid by suppliers.

The challenges are varied and include: accommodating power supply from multiple, somewhat random, places; storing energy when it is not needed; coping with extreme flows of energy into the system; accommodating an ailing infrastructure; and making sure all challenges are met in a socially acceptable, affordable way.

As part of the project a demonstration site will be established to act as a test bed for new ideas and to show new technology and energy solutions being developed.

Leading researchers from the UK and Europe will be recruited to Welsh universities as part of the project, helping to strengthen Wales’ position as a leader in research and innovation within the energy industry.

The project aims to pave the way for the development of new technologies and job creation in the energy sector, and attract new companies to locate themselves in Wales.

By 2020, over £20m of additional competitive research income is expected to be secured in Wales as a result.

Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, said: “The FLEXIS project promises to tackle some of the major societal challenges that we are facing today, from climate change to fuel poverty and rising energy prices.

“By bringing together expertise from across Cardiff University and the rest of South Wales, FLEXIS will establish Wales as a pioneer in energy systems and deliver significant benefits to the nation as a whole, attracting new businesses, creating jobs and training the research engineers of the future.

“This significant amount of EU funding is yet another example of how financial support from Europe is helping to propel the fundamental research that is being performed here in Wales.”

Finance and Government Business Minister, Jane Hutt, said: “Wales is set to benefit from around £1.8 billion of EU Structural Funds by 2020 to support business, innovation, infrastructure, skills, employment, and young people.

“This is vital investment for our economy and labour market, and is a crucial source of funding in driving innovative research and the commercialisation of that research, creating sustainable jobs and growth.

“It’s fantastic news that this £15 million EU funds investment will support such ground-breaking potential in this important energy sector for Wales.”