Researchers to Develop ‘Super Grid’ for Sharing Wind Power

Researchers at Cardiff University are working on technology which will contribute to the development of a ‘super- grid’ for sharing renewable power across Europe.

Working with Leuven University (KU Leuven) in Belgium, the MEDOW project is investigating ways of sharing offshore wind power via a grid system.

Professor Nick Jenkins, Leader of Energy at Cardiff School of Engineering, said: “Wind power is a source of clean, renewable electricity. We need to make more of it to become less reliant on expensive imported fossil fuels. In 2012, over half of the energy that the EU consumed was imported from outside the Union.”

MEDOW is working to develop a direct current or DC grid – a more efficient way of transmitting and sharing power. A pan-European grid, rather than single point-to-point connections, will reinforce reliability and help balance power supply and demand.

Academic and research management staff from Cardiff and KU Leuven met in Cardiff for a Vision2020 Policy Hub Event. Vision2020 is a collaboration platform for research organisations and companies participating in the ‘Horizon 2020’ EU funding programme.

MEDOW (Multi-terminal DC Grid for Offshore Wind) is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded by the European Commission and is coordinated by Cardiff University’s School of Engineering. The team is working with five universities and six industrial organisations with expertise in the manufacturing, design, and operation of multi-terminal DC grids.

The Cardiff team hope their research will form the basis of a pan-European electricity transmission network to deliver a single European electricity market, develop sustainable energy technology and create jobs.

MEDOW’s international partners include Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Spain); Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (Denmark) and China Electric Power Research Institute (China).

Dr Jun Liang, Cardiff School of Engineering and Principal Investigator of MEDOW, said: “Thanks to collaboration with other partner universities, including KU Leuven, regular technical discussions have inspired our ideas. We’ve been able to introduce each other to our industrial partners which broaden the vision of our research and help share the outcomes.”

Whilst searching for a grid solution, the project is helping to train early career researchers and will create a pool of researchers and expertise from academia, research institutes, manufacturers, and operators developing DC grids.

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