UC gets $8m research grant

The University of Canterbury has received more than $8 million towards researching renewable energy and the resilience of infrastructure organisations following a disaster.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released details of the announcement today, with the bulk of the funding going to a project led by Dr Allan Miller, director of the University of Canterbury Electric Power Engineering Centre.

Miller's project will look at renewable energy and smart grids, as well as electronic cars.

"We will provide government and industry with methods for managing and balancing supply and demand variability and delivering a functional and safe distribution network in which intermittent renewable generation is a growing part of the energy supply.

"The Smart Grid will balance delivery of demand and supply and manage network function and safety, in an integrated and seamlessly automated fashion utilising new technologies and methods. It will provide an electricity network where power flows are managed responsively and according to the needs of the users," Miller said.

The other successful research project, led by Dr Bernard Walker and Associate Professor Venkataraman Nilakant, will look at how infrastructure organisations can improve their response to a major disaster.

Nilakant said the Christchurch earthquakes provided a valuable learning opportunity to enhance the resilience of infrastructure organisations in the face of future disasters.

"The organisational dimensions of infrastructure services will play a vital role in future disasters, determining the speed and effectiveness of both initial emergency responses, and also the longer recovery and restoration of the wide range of infrastructure services," he said.

The Press