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MEGAMIND project for innovative energy transition receives grant from NWO

Published: 10th March 2021 Last updated: 15th March 2021

Innovative energy transition research receives a grant from the Dutch Research Council NWO. Ten researchers will link artificial intelligence research to innovation in legislation and regulation to accelerate the energy transition. Among the ten researchers are Professor Saskia Lavrijssen, Dr. Merel Noorman and Dr. Leonie Reins from the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society (TILT). MEGAMIND stands for MEasuring, GAthering, and MINing Data.

MEGAMIND focuses on the so-called edges of the electricity system: the distribution networks and the electricity producing and consuming devices connected to them. The program aims to lift the mutual stranglehold between technology and regulation. If laws and regulations lag behind technological developments, they inhibit the innovation needed for sustainability, and vice versa.

Predicting fluctuations

Electricity plays an important role in the energy transition. We see new devices connected to the electricity networks, such as electric vehicles and heat pumps, while our electricity is increasingly generated through wind and solar. This poses two challenges to our electricity system. Firstly, the increased demand and supply frequently overload cables and transformers in the network. Secondly, fluctuating power generation from solar and wind may imbalance the system. Artificial Intelligence may help addressing these challenges, by predicting when problems occur and by letting energy consuming and producing devices cooperate to avoid these situations. Then, the edges of the electricity system manage themselves.

Budget

MEGAMIND aims to develop the technology and regulation to make this possible. With the investments from the sector and the grant from NWO, there will be a budget of €3.7 million euros. This will employ ten researchers, PhD students and postdocs, at the five knowledge institutes taking part in the consortium, cooperating with nine industry partners covering the full value chain for electricity. Eindhoven University of Technology will lead the program. The Tilburg Law School is participating in the project on behalf of Tilburg University, more specifically Saskia Lavrijssen Professor of Economic Regulation and Market Governance, Dr. Merel Noorman, Assistant Professor Law and Technology (Regulating Socio-Technical Change), and Dr. Leonie Reins, Assistant Professor Law and Technology (Energy and Environment).