A £24M EU-backed investment in a world-leading energy research scheme at Welsh universities has been announced by Welsh Government Finance Minister and Government Business Minister, Jane Hutt.
The FLEXIS five-year research programme, supported by £15m of EU funds and led by Cardiff University, will investigate how flexible energy systems can meet modern-day energy challenges.
Involving collaborations with industry and research organisations in Wales, Europe and worldwide, the scheme will investigate how multiple energy sources can be supplied to consumers through more flexible and efficient systems that integrate traditional and renewable energy sources.
As part of the scheme, demonstration sites will be established to act as a test bed for new ideas and to show how new and cost-effective technology and energy solutions are being developed – including a project promoting the use of ground energy from mine water.
Leading researchers from the UK and Europe will also be recruited to Welsh universities, helping to strengthen Wales’ position as a leader in research and innovation within the energy industry.
The scheme will pave the way for the development of new technologies and job creation in the energy sector, and attract new companies to locate in Wales.
Finance and Government Business Minister, Jane Hutt, said: “Wales is set to benefit from around £1.8billion of EU Structural Funds by 2020 to support business, innovation, infrastructure, skills, employment, and young people.
“This is vital investment for our economy and labour market, and is a crucial source of funding in driving innovative research and the commercialisation of that research, creating sustainable jobs and growth.
“It’s fantastic news that this £15m EU funds investment will support such ground-breaking potential in this important energy sector for Wales.”
Professor Colin Riordan, Vice- Chancellor of Cardiff University, said: “FLEXIS promises to tackle some of the major societal challenges that we are facing today, from climate change to fuel poverty and rising energy prices.
“FLEXIS will establish Wales as a pioneer in energy systems and deliver significant benefits to the nation as a whole, attracting new businesses, creating jobs and training the research engineers of the future.”