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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P031145/1
Title: SCORRES: Smart Control of Rural Renewable Energy & Storage
Principal Investigator: Owens, Professor EH
Other Investigators:
Corne, Professor DW Jenkins, Professor DP Robu, Dr V
Flynn, Professor D
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Energy, Geosci, Infrast & Society
Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Scheme: Technology Programme
Starts: 01 April 2017 Ends: 31 March 2018 Value (£): 99,917
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Efficiency Energy Storage
Solar Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
This project will demonstrate the benefits of demand management strategies in distressed grids in developing nations. It will use energy storage in the form of batteries and demand scheduling to improve energy security and to reduce curtailment of renewable generation. The project will develop research that has been demonstrated in a European context and prove its value in the context of developing nations. It will address the challenges of providing rural communities in developing nations with access to reliable, clean, affordable energy, particularly where the electricity provided via the grid is unavailable or unreliable.

The Energy Trilemma will be tested by: 1. Security of supply: Outages will be avoided using sufficient photovoltaic generation, batteries and ORIGIN forecasting and demand control activating non-essential load shedding. 2. Affordability: A business model with regulation and tariff changes, will outline benefits for the utility by reducing solar capacity constraints and for the villagers by encouraging behavioural change towards technology adaption. 3. Emissions: Supply and demand management of renewable solar energy will provide low carbon operating footprints. India's energy demand is set to more than double by 2040 propelled by a larger economy, a growing population and the Federal Government priority for universal energy access. An estimated 300 million people, primarily in rural areas, are currently without access to electricity. Of the resultant increase in energy demand, an anticipated 40% will be met by renewable generation, including 40 GW of decentralised, off-grid rooftop solar. Poor access to reliable energy hampers rural development & agriculture, deprives villagers of the benefits of energy access and stalls economic activity, while stimulating migration to cities.

The project will use advanced highly localised weather forecasting techniques previously developed by Heriot-Watt University to forecast renewable generation and community energy demand in the village of Irumbai in Tamil Nadu, India. These 72-hour ahead forecasts will then be used to inform an energy storage and demand management system to maximise the uptake of onsite PV generation and reduce grid instability in a location where frequent power outages occur. Demand management will include the control of crop specific, pumped agricultural irrigation systems, activated for night time operation from soil humidity and temperature sensors. The system will enable the optimal use of electrical energy storage to reduce both curtailment of local PV generation and power supply disruption.

The project will be based around two neighbouring field trial sites. The first is the village of Irumbai with ~700 inhabitants, where community energy systems include PV generation and battery storage, supplying residential and community buildings, street lighting and water pumps, which will be used to provide the potential for energy orchestration and demand response. The second will be the nearby Buddha Garden, a solar-powered and ORIGIN controlled irrigation pumping field trial where the project team will test the technology in a sector where highly efficient off-grid solutions will greatly benefit farmers and utilities. Better management of supply and demand will offset the requirement to upgrade grid distribution networks thereby reducing the capital cost of achieving the "Power for All" aims of the Indian Government. The combination of renewable generation, energy storage and forecasting technology is particularly suited to off-grid and weak grid areas, often where the highest levels of poverty exist.

Towards the end of the project a feasibility report will cover technical infrastructure, regulatory issues and community restrains for villagers and farmers around a proposed new energy supply strategy and economic model.
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Organisation Website: http://www.hw.ac.uk