FLEXIS (Flexible Integrated Energy Systems) is a £24 million research operation designed to develop an energy systems research capability in Wales which will build on the world class capability that already exists in Welsh universities.
The operation is led by Cardiff University, Swansea University and the University of South Wales , and will be delivered in two geographical areas; West Wales and the Valleys, and East Wales. FLEXIS has received £15 million in funding support through the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO). Through the FLEXIS operation we will focus on developing flexible energy systems, which is an urgent priority in energy generation and supply. We will make a significant economic impact through supporting and developing the internationally renowned research in this area, and more specifically through the new technologies and new jobs that will follow this work.
Our aim is to create a culture of research and innovation across Wales so that we are known across the world as a leader in energy systems technology. Part of our activity will also include driving innovation to create jobs and produce real economic impact. One of our key FLEXIS objectives is to create significant critical mass and attract new researchers to Wales. We aim to embed excellent researchers within research led companies in Wales, and we will be working to attract new companies to locate here, thus supporting the Welsh economy and creating jobs.
As FLEXIS partners we will support cluster development through collaboration with private and public sector research organisations in Wales, throughout Europe, and worldwide. Our aim is to promote the products of Welsh research, the professional training courses that will result from this activity, and produce the graduate research engineers that are needed to make Wales one of the global leaders in energy research.
To enable the UK to meet its climate change commitments, energy systems will need to be developed that enable decarbonisation of our energy supply, whilst ensuring its security and affordability.
Fuel poverty, particularly amongst the elderly, is of growing importance as energy prices increase to accommodate ever more complex renewable energy systems and the associated new infrastructure. We aim to tackle the socio-economic aspects of this challenge including public perceptions and communication about energy research and development, and the associated costs and benefits. An interdisciplinary approach is essential in order to solve these diverse, complex and inter-dependent challenges.
The research will also be based on four main pillars, as follows
The last of the pillars mentioned above is of particular importance. All of the research to be performed will focus on, and be applied at a Welsh “place based” demonstrator. This demonstrator is in the Port Talbot area, and is based at the Tata steel works.