Professor Andy Schofield, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of University of Birmingham and Professor Dr Xianzhang Lei, President of GEIRIEU sign the agreement in 2016 to establish a Joint UoB-GEIRIEU Lab on Energy Storage Research.

Energy experts from the University of Birmingham attended a high-powered international symposium at the United Nations (UN), in New York, to explore ways to help meet key global sustainability targets.

The University was invited to Global Energy Interconnection: Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals as a founding council member of the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) – the only academic institution outside China to hold this status.

Jointly organised by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and GEIDCO, the recent event saw delegates discuss how to speed up development of the global energy interconnection.

Focussing on the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, delegates discussed how to meet its 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets - an action plan to eradicate poverty and ensure sustainable development world-wide.

University experts are focussing their world-leading research on tackling nine of the UN’s Global Goals, exploiting its academic strengths to produce practical solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing mankind.

Professor Andy Schofield, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of University of Birmingham, said: “This symposium was pivotal in bringing together some of the world’s most influential players and influencers in energy distribution and policy. The UK played a major role when the world came together two years ago in Paris resulting in the landmark agreement in reducing global CO2 emissions, and remains a world leader in the climate action across the world.

“Energy storage, an area in which the University of Birmingham has world-leading expertise, is an integral part of the global energy interconnection which as identified by this symposium promises to be a far-reaching accelerator of SDG7, the first-ever universal goal on energy, with five targets on access, efficiency, renewables and means of implementation.

“Through our strong collaboration with the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), University of Birmingham has been recognised and uniquely placed in the development of global energy interconnection. Going forward, we look forward to continuing work in close partnership with the SGCC and the GEIDCO, together making significant contributions to providing the world with sustained clean and more efficient energy.”

GEIDCO is a non-governmental and non-profit international organization established by State Grid Corporation of China, joint related enterprises, organizations, institutions and others voluntarily. Its purpose is to promote the establishment of Global Energy Interconnection to support efforts to meet the global power demand with green and clean alternatives.

The University of Birmingham and the Global Energy Interconnection Research Institute Europe (GEIRIEU) of State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) last year unveiled a Joint UoB-GEIRIEU Lab on Energy Storage Research.

In addressing the symposium, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out: “Energy is the golden thread that connects all the SDGs. In order to tackle the double challenge of energy poverty and climate change – producing clean, affordable energy at a pace that will meet rising demand without environmental detriment – all stakeholders must step up efforts to transform the world’s energy systems for everyone’s benefit.”

And Mr Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, added: “New technologies, new business models, and new approaches to capacity building are all needed to transform the world and achieve global sustainable development. The global energy interconnection (GEI), through smart grids, offers one such avenue.”

• The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.
• SGCC, ranked No. 2 in the Global Fortune 500, is the world’s largest electric power utility company, and the leader of global energy interconnection development. The University of Birmingham, through its Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage (BCES), possesses world-leading expertise in thermal energy storage and has had a strong ongoing collaboration with SGCC.
• The University of Birmingham is focussing its research on the following nine UN Global Goals:

  • Good Health and Well-being
  • Gender Equality
  • Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Affordable and Clean Energy
  • Reduced Inequalities
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Climate Action
  • Peace and Justice