A consortium of five strategic partners – Cardiff University, Swansea University, The University of South Wales, Neath Port Talbot Borough Council and Tata Steel Port Talbot – FLEXIS (Flexible Integrated Energy Systems) aims to create a resilient, affordable, green energy system across Wales with potential for global application.
Mr Lidington made the comments during a visit to the FLEXIS demonstration area on Monday as part of a day in Wales celebrating 20 years of devolution.
A round table session with FLEXIS academics and partners covered the need for a multi-vector approach to energy modelling, the issues around energy storage and the formation of a South Wales industry cluster.
During a tour of the University of South Wales’ Hydrogen R&D Centre, the Minister was informed about the potential of hydrogen both as a means to accommodate more renewable electricity into the network, and of reducing carbon emissions from heating through injecting hydrogen into the gas grid.
Re-fuelling a Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service hydrogen-powered car provided the opportunity to discuss hydrogen as a zero-carbon fuel for transport for road and rail.
FLEXIS aims to de-risk decarbonisation by enabling low carbon transport, integrating renewables into the grid and developing reliable means of carbon capture and storage. Its unique approach models energy flows and uses social science expertise to understand public perception of new energy technologies. The five-year project is funded to the tune of £24m, with just over £15m from the European Development Fund via the Welsh Government.
In June, the UK became the first country in the world to commit to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 by law.