In the last decade we have seen major blackouts in Italy and New York, the London Underground plunged into darkness and 600 million people left without power in India. The triggers for these events can be many and varied but they all bring home how vital secure energy supplies are to our way of life.
We need secure and sustainable energy systems for the future, able to anticipate and respond to manmade and natural threats. We urgently need to reduce emissions to combat climate change, while providing affordable energy, enabling continued economic growth and limiting the impact on scarce resources and the environment. This is an enormous task, requiring changes to every sector of energy generation, supply, use and regulation.
It is only through major collaborative research efforts that these challenges can be addressed and truly transformative changes to our energy future beyond 2050 can occur. We need to work in partnership across research disciplines, globally, and between universities and industry, and we need to engage with the general public about the future of the energy grid and how they will interact with it.
EPSRC leads the Research Councils UK Energy Programme, currently investing £800M of public money in research for a low carbon future. It is also pioneering a new approach to training tomorrow’s leading thinkers, bringing together groups of doctoral students from diverse backgrounds to work on major research, industry or global challenges. It is these talented individuals and their innovative vision that we need to solve global challenges such as energy security.
by Dr Paul Golby – GGCS resilience session speaker and panelist
Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and non-executive director at National Grid.