Encouraging investment in renewables is a key goal of COP26 and a central pillar of how countries will shape ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with the ultimate net zero by 2050 target. At the University of Exeter, our innovative research is influencing government policies and accelerating the enhancement and adoption of renewable energy sources.
The only academic research group in the UK focused on influencing policy and regulatory change at the government level, our Energy Policy Group (EPG) has already made a significant impact. The EPG’s Innovation and Governance for Future Energy Systems (iGov) research project has produced a significant body of work that is informing the innovative and ambitious approaches that are needed to meet the net zero target.
Already adopted, our recommendations have created a fit-for-purpose framework that is improving resilience in the energy sectors, increasing competition and opening opportunities for innovators from the renewable energy sector. We’re also a trusted advisor to industry, the regulator and policy leaders who look to us for robust market and policy analysis.
Innovation through partnerships
Our dedicated Solar Energy Research Group is also working with national and international partners to develop affordable solar technologies that counter energy challenges and deliver sustainable solutions. That includes pioneering innovative ways to funnel the sun’s energy more efficiently and directly into power cells such as solar panels or batteries. One of our ground-breaking methods offers the potential to harvest three times the energy per unit of the solar cell material used.
In the Offshore Renewable Energy Sector, we’ve been driving innovation for more than 20 years, addressing techno-economic challenges and focusing on efficiency and reliability in wave analysis, marine hydrodynamics, resource modelling, moorings and dynamic power cables.
Here, our expertise and insight have helped multiple consortia to secure £22 million in funding to maintain the UK’s status as a global leader in offshore renewables. ORE Supergen, Marine-I and the Cornwall Flow Accelerator are bringing together research in wave, tidal and offshore wind to address technical, environmental and interdisciplinary challenges with a coordinated response at national and regional level. Our Renewable Energy department is leading the way in working with Harbin Engineering University (HEU) in China, and TORC, the joint venture research and incubation centre established in March 2019 by the UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and China’s Tus Wind.
We’re also one of just eight UK green energy innovators working as part of a pivotal new partnership to develop next generation marine renewables. Both the UK and India have ambitious targets to deploy renewable wind and solar power but face challenges in implementing these intermittent energy sources. As one of ten UK universities working with peers across India, we’re developing the technologies that are the force behind JUICE – the Joint UK-India Clean Energy Centre. In exploring the common needs for energy storage, demand management and flexible electricity networks, our solutions will be critical to the future of sustainable energy systems.
Whether influencing policy, enhancing renewable energy sources through innovation or joining forces with other leading organisations around the world, the University of Exeter is committed to playing its part in accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources and keeping the goal of Net Zero within reach.
Marine-i is an ambitious programme designed to enable innovation in the marine technology sector, with the University of Exeter leading the initiative.
Focussing on four themes: marine energy, marine manufacturing, maritime operations and marine environmental technologies; the team are stimulating and supporting research, development and innovation to help businesses exploit new market opportunities in marine technology.
Supporting more than 50 projects across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Marine-i is aiming to play a significant role in creating the sustainable marine industries of the future, ensuring that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly remain at the heart of the marine technology sector in coming decades.
They have recently agreed to support a pioneering new approach to using space data to support the development of renewable energy sites, such as floating offshore wind which could help reduce the risks and costs associated with these developments.
Marine-i has also supported a research programme to identify the potential for wave, tidal and floating wind technologies to be deployed around the Isles of Scilly which is expected to lead to long-term economic, societal and environmental benefits for the communities living on the islands.