Centre for Integrated Renewable Energy Generation and Supply
Meeting the technical challenges of moving towards a low carbon energy system.
The Centre for Integrated Renewable Energy Generation and Supply (CIREGS) was established in 2008 as a small multidisciplinary engineering research group with international expertise in both the supply and transmission of energy.
We now have 9 academic staff (including an EPSRC Fellow), 19 Post-Doctoral Research Associates (including 4 International Training Network Marie Curie researchers) and 26 PhD students. Two long-standing members, Professor Nick Jenkins and Professor Janaka Ekanayake, have been given a prestigious title of IEEE Fellows for their contribution to the group and to the research community.
Through rigorous academic research, we seek to expand our knowledge on topics such as wind and solar energy, high voltage direct current (HVdc), smart grids and integrated energy systems to name but a few. In so doing, we can provide expertise to industry and policymakers as well as other academics.
Our research relies on the analysis and development of models of multi-vector energy systems and networks. We also design, model and test new topologies and controls of power electronic circuits at various power and voltage ratings. Moreover, we investigate algorithms and software techniques for the control of HVdc, medium voltage direct current (MVdc) and power electronics in electricity systems.
Over the years, we have conducted many projects, trained students from all over the world and published numerous high-quality technical papers and books.
Our research highlights
- Coordination of two Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (ITN) led by Professor Jun Liang.
- Participation in BEST PATHS with 40 partners from 11 countries, including 8 Transmission System Operators, demonstrating our international leadership on HVdc (€62.8 million with £501,733 to Cardiff University) and led by Dr Carlos Ugalde-Loo.
- Co-direction of UK Energy Research Centre by Professor Nick Jenkins in 2014 and Professor Jianzhong Wu in 2019 (~£ 1m of income to Cardiff University) and SUPERGEN Energy Networks Hub (£547,612 to Cardiff) by Professor Jianzhong Wu.
- Leadership of the project Decarbonisation of Transport Network+ by Professor Liana Cipcigan (£605,283 to Cardiff University).
- Co-direction of the FLEXIS project (£1,876,158 to CIREGS).
- Award of 3-year EPSRC Fellowship to Dr Meysam Qadrdan and a 5-year Industrial Fellowship to Dr Wenlong Ming.
- Three Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) projects in progress with SMEs (£849,148 to Cardiff University).
These and many other projects allow us to advise policymakers and industry.
For example, in 2019 Professor Wu and Dr Meysam Qadrdan published a policy overview on heat in the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) Energy Policy Review 2019.
Professor Jenkins, as a member of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Panel of Technical Experts, provides advice to government on the Capacity Mechanism.
From 2014 to 2018 Professor Jenkins was also a member of the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM) Network Innovation Panel.
A smart grid employs communications, intelligent monitoring and control to facilitate an efficient connection and co-operation of many generators and energy sources.
The smart grid is an opportunity to move the energy industry into a new era of low-carbon reliability, affordability and efficiency that will contribute to economic and environmental stability.
A focus of our research is to move the ideas of the smart grid beyond electricity to include other energy vectors such as gas, heat and cooling. We are interested in:
- Concepts and methodologies that manage a large number of distributed energy resources such as microgrid, CELL, virtual power plant, virtual energy storage, and peer to peer networks.
- Models that are multi-timescale, multi-granularity and multi-system.
- Alternative large-scale distribution system simulation techniques for smart distribution network operation and planning.
- Distribution network operating strategies that mitigate network constraints which take into account uncertainties of load, distributed generation, network topology and Smart Grid interventions.
- The role of smart meters and how they can facilitate demand-side response and power system operation.
- Dynamic demand technologies that provide ancillary services for power system operation.
- Multi-agent control of a large number of geographically disparate loads and electric vehicles.
- Cloud-based virtual power plants capable of utilising electricity storage assets and vehicle to grid power.
Our work within this area centres on developing these interests into concepts and methodologies that enable better management, planning and optimisation of distributed energy resources.
To find out more about our work, please contact:
Energy supply infrastructure is undergoing a transformation in response to changes in energy demand, the climate emergency, rising energy costs and fuel security concerns. It is driven by government energy policy initiatives and is influenced by low carbon technologies and advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
This revolution is affecting electrical power networks, natural gas networks, district heating, and cooling supply systems. It is also introducing new technologies, new network configurations, new network design and operation strategies, business and regulatory mechanisms. As a result, technical and economic interactions between these traditionally separate systems are increasing rapidly. The changes are also increasing the need for energy storage and improving the business case for its deployment.
A particular focus of our research is to investigate the coupling and interactions between various energy supply networks at different geographical scales, to create an efficient, co-ordinated energy supply system.
The scope of our research includes investigation of efficient building energy supply systems, community energy supply systems district as well as urban energy systems and integrated national and European energy networks.
Our research activities and expertise in this area, much of which has received Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry funding, include:
- studies of the interactions and interdependencies of multi-vector energy networks and development of integrated analysis and optimisation methods
- modelling of combined GB gas and electricity transmission networks
- green urban energy infrastructure - integrated electricity/gas/heating/cooling systems
- pptimal energy flows within a microgrid
- EU gas network modelling and the interactions and interdependencies between the GB integrated electricity/gas systems and the EU electricity/gas systems
- vulnerability assessment of energy infrastructure
- integration of low carbon technologies through multi-vector energy networks and benefit quantification
- the role of alternative gas/heat resources and gas/heat networks in future integrated energy systems
- building energy modelling and flexibility assessment
- dynamic modelling and control of multi-vector energy vectors (district heating and district cooling).
To find out more about our work, please contact:
- Professor Nick Jenkins
- Professor Jianzhong Wu
- Dr Meysam Qadrdan
- Dr Carlos Ugalde-Loo
- Dr Modassar Chaudry
- Dr Muditha Abeysekera
- Dr Xiandong Xu
- Dr Sathsara Abeysinghe
Power electronics and HVdc
Power electronics is a fundamental technology for a broad range of new energy generation, transmission and distribution systems. Power electronic systems enable the flexible conversion, efficient transmission and reliable distribution of electrical energy. Wind turbines, photovoltaic arrays and modern industrial motor drives all use advanced power electronic converters, circuits, devices and control systems to interface with the electrical grid. Increasingly we address the use of compound semiconductors to improve the operation of power electronic circuits
There has been a rapid take-up of very large-scale power electronic converters, in the form of high-voltage direct-current (HVdc) transmission systems, for the connection of offshore generation into onshore grids and the interconnection of the electricity grids of different countries. HVdc transmission is now an internationally-competitive sector of UK industry and academia. We also investigate the rapidly evolving area of MVdc and the use of high power electronics in Medium Voltage Distribution Systems
Here at CIREGS, we specialise in three core topic related to Power Electronics. These are:
Voltage source converter based HVdc (VSC-HVdc) transmission technology is particularly suitable for integrating offshore wind power and connecting multiple ac grids. VSC-HVdc will be a key technology for future HVdc grids, such as a pan-European SuperGrid. We use a combination of simulation tools and laboratory-scale experimental facilities to demonstrate the operation and control of multi-terminal HVdc networks and investigate the provision of ancillary services from HVdc to ac grids.
Industrial power electronics
Various types of electrical machines consume about two-thirds of the electrical energy used by industry. Advances in modern power electronic drives and converter systems will improve control flexibility and also lead to significant improvements in energy efficiency. We explore interactions between generation sources that are connected using power electronic converters, HVdc technologies and the electrical power systems and develop control schemes to mitigate any potential adverse interactions.
Automatic control of power systems
The application of control theory is essential for the regulation of industrial processes, operation of conventional power systems, and the integration of renewable energy sources into electricity grids. We investigate and develop efficient control strategies to guarantee system stability, optimum robustness and overall performance of HVdc technologies (links and grids) and energy storage systems.
To find out more about our work, please contact:
Electric Vehicles (EVs) are playing an important role in the decarbonisation of transport, but the charging infrastructure of EVs is posing significant challenges to the electricity system.
Our research addresses smart management of the charging infrastructure, new technologies for wireless charging of EVs, vehicle-to-grid, virtual power plants, artificial intelligence forecasting algorithms for predicting EV charging demand and agent-based platforms to integrate electricity and transport systems.
To find out more about our work, please contact:
We contribute to a number of projects with a wide range of national and international links with industry and academia.
These links allow us to work in partnership with key stakeholders in the energy sector to develop our research portfolio and areas of work in line with industrial and legislative priorities, requirements and policy.
We are a key contributor to several major research consortia, including:
- UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC)
- EPSRC Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC and Multi-scale Infrastructure Systems Analytics (MISTRAL))
- SUPERGEN Energy Networks Hub
- Energy REV
- DTE Network+.
We are leading two UK-China smart grid projects working with leading research institutions and industry partners.
We actively engage several industrial partners such as National Grid, Scottish Power Energy Networks and Siemens.
Steering and feedback from industry is a core element of our work in these rapidly developing fields of research. Students, therefore, benefit from industrial interest in their PhD projects and many former students have gone on to careers in the industry.
This innovative project adapts existing electronic technologies to build a Medium Voltage Direct Current (MVdc) link. This will smooth the way for the integration of increasing volumes of renewable generation and accommodate the growth of electricity demand. Angle-DC is building confidence in deploying MVdc technologies by other UK Distribution Network Operators and stimulating the MVdc supply chain.
DTE Network +
The Decarbonising Transport through Electrification (DTE) Network + is a £1M EPSRC-funded multidisciplinary project addressing the challenges of implementing a low-carbon, cost-effective and holistically operating transport sector for the UK.
The DTE Network+ project explores drivers for change within the transport system including technological innovation, individual mobility needs and economic requirements for change, alongside environmental and social concerns for sustainability. It considers the role, social acceptance and impact of policies and regulations to result in emission reduction.
Professor Liana Cipcigan is the Principal Investigator.
This consortium has been formed to help drive forward research and innovation in Smart Local Energy Systems. It supports the wider Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s programme on Prospering from the Energy Revolution through its activities in 6 key Themes:
- Infrastructure: adapting advances in AI, data analytics and controls to enhance smart local energy systems.
- Business: understanding the current local energy business sector to accelerate innovation.
- Institutions: assessing policy, regulation and markets for local energy sector change.
- Users: reveal how user preferences and practices evolve concerning local energy systems.
- Developing a whole systems understanding: capture and synthesise knowledge from all aspects of the value chain, utilising learnings.
- Supporting scale-up: understanding potential constraints that can prevent scale-up of local energy systems and solutions to overcome them.
Professor Jianzhong Wu leads Work Package 1 of the core project investigating the observability of local cyber-physical energy systems using state estimation techniques and leads WP3 developing 'Spatial and Temporal models' in the plus project 'Next Wave of Local Energy Systems in a Whole Systems Context'.
Flexible Integrated Energy System
Flexible Integrated Energy System (FLEXIS) is a £24 million research operation designed to develop an energy systems research capability. It is led by Cardiff University, Swansea University and the University of South Wales, and will be delivered in two geographical areas; West Wales and the Valleys, and East Wales. FLEXIS has received £15 million in funding support through the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO).
The project aims to stimulate research and innovation in Wales so that we are known across the world as a leader in energy systems technology. Part of the overall project’s activity also includes driving innovation to create jobs and producing real economic impact.
Our research group leads a work package which addresses how energy systems must evolve to provide sustainable, secure and affordable supplies over the next 30 years. It builds on the ongoing research of the academics and their researchers in the our research group.
The main topics that we address are:
- modelling and simulation of energy supply
- optimal planning and design
- reliability and risk assessment
- smart grids
- energy storage.
Infrastructure Transition Research Consortium/Multi-scale Infrastructure Systems Analytics (ITRC/MISTRAL)
Infrastructure Transition Research Consortium (ITRC) is a collaboration between seven leading UK universities and over 50 partners from infrastructure policy and practice investigating ways to improve the performance of infrastructure systems in the UK and around the world.
The research helps businesses and policymakers to explore the risk of infrastructure failure and the long term benefits of investments and policies to improve infrastructure systems.
ITRC’s research aims have developed and demonstrate a new generation of simulation tools to inform the planning and design of national infrastructure such as energy, water and transport.
Cardiff University leads the energy supply modelling activities within the ITRC consortium. This includes:
- Development of an optimisation tool for generation capacity expansion planning.
- Analyse interactions between the UK energy system and other sectors such as transport and water under alternative scenarios developed in collaboration with National Grid and DECC.
- Perform analysis of the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) for HM Treasury (UK). The primary aim of the collaboration was to analyse Innovate UK’s pipeline of infrastructure investments which consists of 550 infrastructure projects with a budget of £438 billion for the next decade. It will also explore alternative longer-term strategies with various future socio-economic and climate change scenarios.
Multi-scale Infrastructure Systems Analytics (MISTRAL) is phase 2 of the ITRC project. It has developed a multi-vector energy system model that varies in spatial and temporal scales. The models have the capability to be applied across multiple countries. The analysis was performed for stakeholders such as the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) using a combination of the ITRC and new model across a wide spectrum of techno-economic and policy issues.
InnoDC (Innovative tools for offshore wind and direct current (dc) grids) is training 15 talented PhD researchers in the exciting field of renewable energy and dc grids. Europe’s power system has changed significantly in recent decades, notably in the development of renewable energy. More changes are essential to contribute to the United Nations’ climate goals. InnoDC’s research focuses on models and methods to integrate new technology, for example, offshore wind turbines, VSC HVdc converters and long ac cables, into the power-system.
The result will be highly skilled engineers capable of converting their new knowledge of offshore wind power and dc grids into future products and services.
Professor Jun Liang is the leading academic on this training programme.
InnoDC is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 765585.
Maximising flexibility through multi-scale integration of energy systems (MISSION)
This research, supported by £628,782 from EPSRC, will propose a novel approach for coordinated planning and operation of interdependent energy vectors (i.e. electricity, gas and heat) to facilitate a cost-effective transition to low carbon and secure energy system. This research will:
- Identify and quantify potential flexibility, for example energy storage and demand response capability, across various energy vectors and across various scales such as buildings, gas and electricity distribution and transmission.
- Optimise the provision of flexibility throughout the whole energy system to deal with variability and uncertainty of renewable energy sources.
- Provide modelling tools, technical, policy and regulatory recommendations to enable maximum exploitation of flexibility through energy systems integration.
Dr Meysam Qadrdan (EPSRC Innovation Fellow) is the lead academic on this project.
Supergen Energy Networks Hub
The Supergen Energy Networks Hub brings together the vibrant and diverse energy networks community to gain a deeper understanding of the interactions and inter-dependencies of energy networks. The Hub integrates a wide range of industrial and academic partners with other energy network stakeholders.
The research addresses the challenges of technology, policy, data, markets and risk for energy networks.
Professor Jianzhong Wu is one of the Co-Directors of the Hub in which he leads on Demonstrators and Experimentation.
UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) carries out world-class research into sustainable future energy systems. It is a focal point of UK energy research and a gateway between the UK and the international energy research communities.
From 2009 to 2014, Cardiff University led the energy supply programme and was tasked with investigating UK energy supply to 2050, taking into account radical developments being put in place from 2020 onwards. The team investigated options for longer-term decarbonisation while recognising the long life-time of energy assets and the need for a smooth trajectory of change.
The CGEN model was used to determine the infrastructure requirements of several diverse scenarios. The impacts of shocks on the energy network were measured. The benefits of mitigation options to counteract the impact of such outages were investigated. The results were used extensively in the widely publicised UKERC 2050 report. The CGEN model was also used for system resilience assessment for low probability but high impact outages to the UK gas and electricity infrastructure.
UK-China projects in Sustainable Power Supply EPSRC-NSFC program
CIREGS academics are leading on two projects funded by the EPSRC and National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) programme. The programme contributes to a broader strategic portfolio of energy research, including the UK Research and Innovation Energy Programme and EPSRC’s ambition to develop the next generation of technologies for the safe, secure, cheap and efficient provision of clean energy.
Professor Jianzhong Wu from the School of Engineering is leading on one of the projects which is titled Multi-energy Control of Cyber-Physical Urban Energy Systems (MC2). In the next three years, Professor Wu and an international team of scholars from Newcastle University, University of Manchester, Tianjin University, Tsinghua University and Northeast Electric Power University will be working on modelling of new architectures and investigating the role of new technologies such as Soft Open Point, medium voltage direct currents (MCdc) and digital twins.
Professor Jun Liang, also from the School of Engineering, will lead on the second project titled Sustainable urban power supply through intelligent control and enhanced restoration of AC/DC networks (SUPER). Professor Liang will investigate the ability of Internet of Things (IoT) based data-driven modelling method to enable response services by coordinating dispersed resources in an urban power network. He will be working with experts on Electric Vehicles (EV), from Newcastle University, China Electric Power Research Institute, China Agricultural University and Southeast University.
Both projects aim to provide strategic direction for the future of sustainable urban power supply in the 2030-2050-time frame and deliver methodologies and technologies of alternative network control to facilitate a cost effective evolution to a resilient, affordable, low carbon and even net-zero future.
The total value of these projects is £1,417,306, which is a significant achievement for Cardiff University and partners from across the world.
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP)
CIREGS academics work with British small and medium enterprise on projects that deliver innovative products or services. This is done through structured collaboration and the employment of associates who transfer the skills and knowledge of the academics to a company in order to develop a commercial product or service.
Our group is engaged in three such partnerships all within the theme of energy systems management.
Beyond State-of-the-Art Technologies for Power AC Corridors Multi-Terminal HVDC Systems
Cardiff University collaborated with 8 partners consisting of 1 wind turbine manufacturer, 3 research institutions, 2 transmission system operators and 2 universities in Demo #1 on the BEST PATHS project to:
- Develop high-level control algorithms for HVdc converters as part of an open-access simulation toolbox for HVdc-connected wind farms modelled using Simulink.
- Simulate, analyse and report the performance of HVdc-connected wind farms during steady-state, transient and fault conditions using the open-access toolbox and develop a user manual for the open-access toolbox.
- Contribute to the development of a 50 kW laboratory-scale demonstrator for HVdc-connected offshore wind farms under construction in SINTEF Norway.
The Engineering Complexity Resilience Network+
ENCORE Network+ is an EPSRC funded project which addresses the Grand Challenge area of Risk and Resilience in Complex Engineered Systems (CES). CES examples include complex products consisting of many interacting components such as gas turbine engines and complex networks such as the UK’s digital, energy and transport networks.
Cardiff University was awarded a grant for a feasibility study titled ‘Generating random-realistic topologies for electricity distribution networks’.
The MEDOW consortium was made up of eleven partners (five universities and six industrial organisations). Each institution in the consortium contributed various expertise on the manufacturing, design, operation, and control of multi-terminal dc grids.
This project recruited twelve early-stage researchers (ESRs) and five experienced researchers (ERs). In addition to their scientific projects, all fellows benefitted from further interdisciplinary and intersectoral education, which included internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences.
Grant Agreement number:
01 April 2013
31 March 2017
Research theme leader - Sustainable Transport
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