His Royal Highness the Duke of York today (Thursday 8 September) formally marked the start of construction work at the site of a multi-million pound centre to develop new ‘smart’ electricity grid technologies. ScottishPower is a founding partner of the project and the centre is to be built on land donated rent free by the company. The Centre will be owned and operated by the University of Strathclyde.
The first its kind in Europe, the Power Network Demonstration Centre (PNDC) is a world class research centre that will accelerate the adoption of new, 'smart' technologies, from advanced power grids to electric cars and household appliances. The £12.5 million centre is being created by the University and leading energy companies including ScottishPower, with support from Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council.
The Royal visit to the site near ScottishPower offices at Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire, signals the start of a programme of work that will see the state-of-the-art centre officially open in early 2012. Around 25 University staff will be based there and will have access to the most advanced, control, monitoring and communications systems.
Frank Mitchell, CEO of ScottishPower Energy Networks, said:
“By providing access to a mini electricity grid that is not connected to the rest of the network this centre will act as a catalyst in the development of grid technologies that will have a vital role to play in the move to a low carbon economy in the UK.
“Smart grids will help reduce energy waste, make it easier for homes and business to generate their own renewable energy, and support smart meters and smart appliances for the home. It will also help the development of a charging system that will support the widespread introduction of electric vehicles.”
ScottishPower already works closely with the University of Strathclyde to help position Scotland at the forefront in the development of this new technology.
Last year the company established 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.
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.
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.
Media information: Simon McMillan 07753 622 257 / 0141 566 4875