Digitalisation of Electrical Power and Energy Systems Operation (DEEPS)

Lead Research Organisation: Brunel University
Department Name: Electronic and Electrical Engineering


Electrical power and energy systems represent critical national infrastructure that interoperates with wider economic sectors including transport, communications, agriculture, manufacturing, construction and education. Reliable power system operation is the key in ensuring the electricity generated from various energy sources can travel in a secure way to meet the electrical loads of those sectors. Reliable power system operation will greatly impact the social comfort of people's lives as well as the healthy growth of the UK economy. Electrical power and energy systems will be key to meet legally binding 100% decarbonisation of overall energy usage in the UK. As a consequence, the large scale of low-carbon and renewable energy sources (RES) such as wind and solar, together with electric vehicles, energy storage and smart grids are integrated into the top and tail of future power systems. These new technologies are fundamentally changing the way power systems operate with complex infrastructure and highly dispersed RES. The increasing size and complexity of electrical power and energy systems require advanced monitoring, modelling and control techniques to handle major disturbances such as blackouts. In August 2019, around 1 million homes lost power due to a series of events on the GB power system with high penetration of RES under extreme weather impacts. The UK has rich RES and ambitious net zero targets, but its power systems are geographically islanded from the mainland with limited undersea cable connections, reduced system "strength" due to many small RES replacing large centrally controlled power plants, making the GB power systems more "brittle" and "volatile" under the major system events.
The Fellow will take an industry focused approach to investigate the fundamental modelling methods and advanced simulation tools to address the challenges in real-time power system operation with up to 100% low-carbon and RES. A key novelty of this Fellowship is to understand the fundamental interdependency and interoperability of various energy systems and entities, and across transmission, distribution and renewable system operators. This will include novel development of whole system modelling approaches and applications of digital simulation techniques into the future power system operation. The Fellowship development will be based on the Fellow's highly relevant industry experience in Electricity National Control as well as research expertise in renewable power system operation. The Fellow will work with electricity system operators at the whole system level (transmission, distribution, renewables) and is supported by market-leading digital technology industry partners. Prototype applications will be demonstrated in power systems and computing facilities at Brunel University London, with further deployment to energy management systems at industrial scales. The investigation, development, demonstration and deployment of advanced power system models, tools and techniques will provide cost-effective and scalable simulation platforms to wider industry and academic communities. The research and innovation outcomes of the Fellowship will be expected to better monitoring and managing of power systems as well as maintaining the control and optimisation of power grid reliability. This will assist in achieving the UK net zero emissions target through the energy transition of digitalisation, decarbonisation and decentralisation.
With support from UKRI and host institution the Fellow will develop into a Future Leader in the field of power and energy systems digitalisation, by working with eight industrial partners in power systems engineering and digital technologies, three internationally respected research and engineering societies, and accessing mentors from academia and industry. The Fellowship will plan intensive training activities across academia and industry, as well as building Fellow's research and innovation networks.


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