World-first whole energy systems accelerator takes a step closer to powering net zero ambitions

Published: 12 May 2021

A world-first energy innovation ecosystem, the Whole Energy Systems Accelerator (WESA), is a step closer following a collaboration agreement between the Living Lab at Energy Systems Catapult and PNDC.

Combining the Living Lab’s real-world test environment of over 200 real-world homes where people trial new energy products and services, with PNDC’s unique facility to research, test and accelerate multi-vector energy systems, will stimulate the advancement of vital innovations needed to reach net zero.

WESA will for the first time enable the interactions between activity in homes, energy networks, and market & policy frameworks to be tested concurrently across many different future energy scenarios.

Rebecca Sweeney, Business lead for the Living Lab, said: “Energy Systems Catapult believes we need to put people at the centre of the Net Zero transformation. The Living Lab allows our brilliant UK innovators to test smart products and services with real consumers to ensure they not only drive down carbon emissions but work with human behaviour to give people a great experience.

“But that in itself is not enough. We need to ensure the combination of smart technology and human behaviour works concurrently with the physics of the energy systems to create robust physical and market systems fit for net zero.

“This multi-disciplinary partnership between PNDC and ESC combines strong reputations in energy systems innovation across electrical power system, cybersecurity capabilities, whole energy system expertise, and consumer-focused capabilities. Working together, we can draw on a broad network of commercial and academic collaboration partners across all sectors of the energy industry.”

WESA will see a new whole energy system network and storage infrastructure established at PNDC and investment in behind-the-meter heating, charging and storage technologies in homes across the country as part of ESC’s Living Lab.

Richard Knight, Director for Strategy and Technology at PNDC, said: “WESA industrial partners will be drawn from the heat, transport, electricity and communications sectors, delivering an unparalleled mix of technology and commercial expertise, to steer WESA operations and provide routes to commercial exploitation. Significant private sector interest is emerging from large energy companies, technology and equipment developers, SMEs and consumer groups.

“By drawing on existing facilities, WESA could be scaled quickly – enabling a programme of innovator support and policy design to have impact as early as this year.”

WESA has been informed by significant industry engagement and a number of partners have also provided letters of support.