ScottishPower has joined forces with the University of Strathclyde to boost the progress of ‘smart’ electricity grids in the UK and to help position Scotland at the forefront in the development of this new technology.
The energy company is funding a new position, to be called the ‘ScottishPower Chair in Smart Grid Technology’, with the University funding an associated lecturer position based in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. The collaboration builds on an established relationship and will support high quality academic research and development that will lead to practical application of new technologies and knowledge exchange with industry.
Jim Sutherland, Network Development Director at ScottishPower, said: “The University of Strathclyde has a strong track record of working productively with industry partners. ScottishPower has worked closely with the university over many years and we are delighted to be enhancing our relationship through the development of smart grid technology.
“ScottishPower already has smart grid projects in progress, but we understand the importance of working with the academic world in order to develop new technology and keep improving and expanding the benefits that smart grids will bring to customers.
“We also hope that our partnership with Strathclyde will help to spark further interest in this area of engineering and produce graduates of the future who will be able to bring their skills into the industry.”
Professor Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: “This investment reflects Scotland’s opportunity to be at the forefront of smart grid technology and engineering, and I am delighted that Strathclyde is working closely with ScottishPower in this area. We have established world-leading, electrical power system research capacity and we see the new Professorial investment as a basis for strengthening our international impact and industrial partnerships.
“The University has a long and successful history of working with industry and producing research to help tackle the challenges of the 21st Century. The new academic staff will help further this work and support the development of highly skilled graduates needed urgently by the energy sector.”
There is increasing recognition that electricity networks will have a vital role to play in the move to a low carbon economy in the UK by helping to reduce energy waste, making it easier for homes and business to generate their own renewable energy, and supporting smart meters and smart appliances for the home.
The energy industry and the UK Government have outlined their support for upgrading the electricity network across the UK, and a number of trial projects are already underway. ScottishPower is developing a smart grid project in Glasgow as part of the Clyde Gateway project, a regeneration scheme in the east end of Glasgow. The company is already installing cutting-edge technology as part of this trial. Further projects that the company is working on include a pilot scheme in the Toxteth area of Liverpool and one in Ashton Hayes, Cheshire.
As the UK and many other countries worldwide look to implement smart grid technology, it is anticipated that there will be clear opportunities for engineers and technology developers who have established specialist knowledge in this area.
The sponsorship from ScottishPower will be in the region of £750,000 over five years.
ScottishPower - Paul Ferguson: 0141 566 4515 / 07702 665 924
University of Strathclyde - Kat Hannah: 0141 548 4123 / 07967 796 503