The “first” electricity grid research facility in Europe was officially opened in Scotland yesterday.
The £12.5 million Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC) in Cumbernauld was built in response to the growing demand for secure, reliable and environmentally friendly power and uses a mini electricity grid system to test new technology.
It will be home to researchers, engineers and industry specialists who will conduct research and develop new technologies in the sector, from advanced grid control schemes to intelligent sensor systems.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: “This is a truly world-class research centre and the first of its kind in Europe, clearly reinforcing that Scotland is leading the way when it comes to the new ideas, new solutions and new practices that will help us meet the electricity and energy needs of the future.
“Smart grid technologies are increasingly important as we move to a low-carbon economy, helping to reduce energy waste and making it easier for homes and businesses to generate their own renewable energy. Our ambitious plans for this sector demonstrate that it has the potential to create up to 12,000 jobs by 2020.”
The facility is part of the Scottish Smart Grid Strategy launched by the Government last year, which aims to improve the efficiency of electricity distribution. It is a venture between the University of Strathclyde, Scottish Power, SSE, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council.