European Bioenergy Research Institute Masterclasses – Aston University

Maximise the excellent opportunities associated with bioenergy by attending a masterclass at Aston University, an institution that has forty years expertise in this area.

The masterclasses are aimed at a broad range of businesses that produce different types of waste. They allow attendees to see how bioenergy works in practice, make useful contacts, and process the many benefits associated with this exciting sector.

Find out more about the European Bioenergy Research Institute’s masterclasses here.


Energy Capital Video Links

The Energy Capital launch event contained some inspiring speeches from a variety of highly influential people. In case you missed them, or would simply like to relive the day, here are some of the highlights, including the official Energy Capital video:

John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council

Mike Crone, Purchasing and Property Director of Jaguar Landrover, Coventry & Warwickshire LEP Board Member

Petteri Huusko, Energy Expert from Environmental Department Helsinki

Energy Capital Vision and Workplan, Part 1

Energy Capital Vision and Workplan, Part 2

West Midlands Mayoral Hustings

Professor Sir David King, UK Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change, former Governmental Chief Scientific Adviser


Energy Systems Catapult – Future Power System Architecture (FPSA)

The challenge: major change ahead for the British power system

Britain’s electrical power system will undergo large-scale change by 2030. Major policy challenges, the opportunities of advanced technologies and falling prices, and emerging new business models will all contribute. Using National Grid’s ‘Gone Green’ Future Energy Scenario (2016) as our baseline, we expect to see:

– more wind and solar PV farms with closer integration to storage and system services
– smaller scale generation connected to distribution networks
customers’ homes and businesses able to generate and store power
– more reliance on interconnectors
– growth of domestic and grid-scale storage

The changing requirements of customers – for example, electric vehicle charging, heat pumps and smart appliances – will disrupt traditional demand patterns. These requirements will interact with smart meters, automated home energy management, dynamic tariffs and demand-side response. Meanwhile, new players such as smart cities and community energy schemes will create market opportunities through aggregation of both supply and demand. These major developments are all happening at the same time and are becoming core features of the power system.

The response: transforming the power system architecture

The architecture of the power system is the underlying organisation of the electricity system – how all of the parts and elements are organised and interact, technically, commercially and administratively. Though it has served us well for several decades, today’s power system architecture now requires significant development as new technologies and business models grow from a relatively small scale to become major features of the British power system over the next 15-20 years. These developments require transformative change to be enabled through greater agility and flexibility of sector functions and processes. The breadth and challenge of the changes ahead is summarised in the government’s recent smart energy consultation.

The Future Power System Architecture project

The Future Power System Architecture (FPSA) project is an ambitious effort involving dozens of industry professionals, academics, policymakers and stakeholders to assess the challenges to be faced in the electricity system by 2030 and to identify new functionality required. The FPSA programme uses a ‘whole system’ approach* to addressing Britain’s future power system challenges. The project is a collaboration between the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC), undertaken with the support of Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

For further details about the FPSA project please click here.

Please direct any enquiries to the FPSA project office at the Energy Systems Catapult via or the IET via

* Whole-systems approaches take general energy objectives, such as decarbonisation or security of supply, and consider actions to meet these objectives holistically rather than within a narrow field of interest or silo. They consider “the set of technologies, physical infrastructure, institutions, policies and practices which enable energy services to be delivered to consumers” (adapted from UK EPSRC definition).

West Midlands Combined Authority – Strategic Economic Plan

The Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) sets out the vision, objectives, strategy and actions to improve the quality of life of everyone who lives and works in the West Midlands.

It has been developed and agreed by a wide partnership of people, organisations and businesses who share a pride in, and ambition for, an area with unique assets, challenges and opportunities.

It recognises that a stronger West Midlands is not just good for its residents and businesses – but for the UK economy.

Devolution and the creation of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) provide the area with a once in a lifetime opportunity for transformation and to focus on the issues that matter most to residents. The SEP sets out the context for the devolution agreement and explains how new powers and resources will deliver an ambitious vision for the region in 2030.

That vision will see the area become home to the biggest concentrations of advanced manufacturing in Europe.

Innovation will play a crucial role in increasing productivity and reforming public services, and people of all ages will be given access to the best education and training, along with improved housing.

With Birmingham city centre at its heart and the two cities of Coventry and Wolverhampton complemented by the surrounding towns, villages and countryside with their own unique characteristics, strong identities and cultural assets, the West Midlands is well placed to make the most of opportunities offered by devolution.

The region’s economy, already home to hundreds of globally competitive businesses, provides a strong foundation for growth, along with a wealth of universities, science parks and research institutes, and supported by high quality rail, road and air links which will be strengthened by development of Birmingham Airport and the arrival of HS2.

This SEP will ensure resources are focused in the right places at the right times to deliver fast, flexible and dynamic change in the areas that matter most to the people and firms of the region.

It is an ambitious plan, but no less than the area needs and deserves.

Find out more about the SEP by reading the executive summary, the full version of the SEP, and the technical appendices.

There’s also a set of questions and answers about the SEP and a list of the organisations who’ve been involved.

Over the coming months the WMCA will be working with organisations, universities, businesses and many more across the region on the development of the SEP. If you’d like to find out more, contact us about getting involved.

The Role of Innovation Within Western Power Distribution

Over 7.8 million customers rely on Western Power Distribution to deliver a safe and reliable electricity supply to their homes and businesses across South West England, South Wales and the Midlands. We keep the lights on by operating the electricity network infrastructure effectively.

With the emergence of new technologies and innovations, the way we do this has changed through the years. The core network of poles and cables remains, but we have always added new technologies where they provide a benefit.

It’s our job to keep developing new innovations and make the best use of them in everything we do, to help us rise to the challenges brought about by a low carbon future and the government’s Low Carbon Transition Plan.

Our Innovation Strategy

Innovation is core to our business strategy. We always seek to find better ways of working. We have adopted many innovative ideas into day to day operations that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the way we deliver our services to customers.

We look for innovative developments across five broad areas:

  1. Network performance and efficiency – Searching out better processes, equipment and technology that ensure we continue to be efficient.
  2. Low carbon networks – Supporting future electricity demand and generation requirements.
  3. Smart grids and meters – Developing new techniques and utilising enhanced data to help develop more dynamic network control.
  4. Environment – Reducing our business impact on the environment.
  5. Customer service – Developing smarter ways of delivering better customer service.

Our Innovation projects shape how we are thinking about the future. We will continue to innovate and undertake new projects that will build upon what we have already learnt from the projects we and other DNOs have carried out.

A full copy of our Innovation Strategy can be found here.