Work begins on Europe’s largest Smart Energy Network Demonstrator at Keele University

  • Groundbreaking ceremony took place at Keele University to mark the official start of works
  • Siemens will upgrade existing energy infrastructure and install smart devices
  • Keele has the largest university campus in the UK with 12,000 students and staff, 350 mixed used buildings – a size similar to a small town

Keele University has marked the official start of work on its landmark Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND), which will be the first project of its kind in Europe.

It will be the first facility in Europe for at-scale living laboratory research, development and demonstration of new smart energy technologies and services in partnership with business and industry.

The project will create a decentralised energy system, providing Keele University with the infrastructure to monitor and manage its energy across the campus – the largest in the UK.

The project will enable smart analysis of energy consumption using smart technologies, and how the interplay between contributory factors affects that use. The ‘living lab’ will give evidence to the energy research and business community and local energy and related sector SMEs who will have access to the University’s unique infrastructure to develop and test renewable and smart technologies.

Siemens will digitalise 24 substations, install 1,500 smart meters, and integrate 5MW of renewable energy as part of phase 1 of the project.

The project will focus research in areas of energy efficiency and cost savings, security of supply, and lowering CO2 emissions.

Professor Mark Ormerod, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost of Keele University, commented: “We are committed to investing in our energy and utility network. Being the home to Europe’s largest smart energy network demonstrator is a thrilling prospect, both academically and environmentally. Our living lab will help provide the research into decentralised energy systems needed now and into the future to create a more agile power system.”

Carl Ennis, Managing Director at Siemens Energy Management said: “This project is an important milestone as we officially begin work. With more than 70% of the world’s population expected to live in urban areas by 2050, projects such as this will have a massive impact in how this urbanisation is managed. As the largest demonstrator in Europe it will give us real data on how to be more energy efficient and how innovative technologies can reduce emissions and improve security of supply.

The Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND) – which is funded by Keele University, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme – builds on Keele University’s commitment to sustainability.