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Resilient and Flexible Railway Multi-Energy Hub Networks for Integrated Green Mobility (Hubs)

The decarbonisation of transport will play a crucial role in Scotland reaching its goal of Net Zero by 2045, and in the UK reaching the same by 2050. SP Energy Networks are looking to better understand the future relationship between renewable energy and electrified rail as we will be a key enabler of this transition. This learning will allow us to keep on the right track, as we take our customers on their journey to electrified transport both now and in the future. 


Febuary 2023 – June 2024

Project Status

In Progress

About the Project

About the Project

Hubs is a novel microgrid solution for railway stations, first of its kind in the world, to interface with both traction power supply system and local distribution grid to maximise the energy efficiency while providing cost-effective solutions for railway decarbonisation. The energy hub will integrate local renewable generation, recover regenerative power from trains approaching stations, and coordinate both traction and non-traction power supplies along the railway routes. The goal is to implement the energy hub solution to as many of the 2500 stations across over 10,000 miles of UK rail as energy and transport nexuses, connecting these hubs and their surrounding cities/communities to support green mobility and a future low carbon power grid that runs almost entirely on renewable sources.


Project Objectives

  • Gathering all technical data (electrical; civil, mechanical, safety, licensing, ownership, etc.), and information required needed for the hub design, with full engagement of the targeted stations along Ayrshire route.
  • Informing the ORR, Local Authority, County Council, Environment Agency, Road Agency, TNO and DNO, Network Rail, Train operators and other stakeholders, the project scope and requirements, hence obtaining engagement.
  • Producing design specifications for Ayrshire Energy Hubs having the features of minimum viable product (MVP). Detailed electric schematics and geometric layout of each hub will be drawn. Power ratings and voltage levels of subsystems should be listed. Technical validations of hubs under various operation conditions via Software and hardware-in-the-loop environment should be performed.
  • Producing a hub construction plan including off-the-shelf solutions for subsystems/components; engage with system operators.
  • Developing a viable business model with well-defined public and stakeholder engagement activities.
  • Assessing the applicability of the designed solutions to other rural and urban stations for roll-out.


Benefits for the Customers & SP Energy Networks

The power network users and clients will first benefit from the project due to enhanced performance and flexibility of the distribution network which is achieved by maximizing the utilization of renewable generations and by leveraging huge flexibility potentials from the energy hubs, including huge energy storage facilities in the hubs to coordinate the supply of 440GWh pa railway non-traction power and recover part of the 4TWh pa traction power (one third of which can be recovered in theory), and huge storage capacity of EVs in station car parks.  The following benefits for the power network users and clients are addressed in this project:

  • Reduce electricity bill;
  • Greater robustness within the distribution grid;
  • Availability for EVs to be charged and connected across 2500 stations with reduced fees;
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions by 3 Mt CO2e p.a.;
  • Better health conditions; and
  • Reduced dependence on imported fossil fuels and hence reduced exposure and vulnerability to volatile fossil fuel markets.



Project Partners


SP Distribution plc
320 St Vincent Street
G2 5AD


University of Leeds
School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Institute for High-Speed Rail and System Integration
Woodhouse Lane


Network Rail Ltd
1 Eversholt Street


Ricardo Energy & Environment
Shoreham Technical Centre
Old Shoreham Rd
West Sussex
BN43 5FG


Costain Limited
Costain House
Vanwall Business Park


Entrust Smart Home Microgrid Ltd
Lancaster Environment Centre

Reports & Documents



WP1 - Identification of stations for Ayrshire Energy Hubs and compilation of associated data for identified stations

WP2 - Report documenting the hub design specifications, outlining the circuit diagrams of the whole hub including size and ratings of the PV system, energy storage, all the converters, transformers switchgears and protection hardware at the level of details sufficient to ensure accurate simulation and hardware-in-loop validation.

WP3 - Detailed report on the hub design implementation plan and business model



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