UK research centre aims to be energy world beater

A new research centre aims to lead the world in ‘smart’ energy technology, from advanced power grids to electric cars and household appliances. The £12.5m Power Network Demonstration Centre is […]

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By Kelvin Ross

A new research centre aims to lead the world in ‘smart’ energy technology, from advanced power grids to electric cars and household appliances.

The £12.5m Power Network Demonstration Centre is the first of its kind in Europe and is being set up by the University of Strathclyde and energy companies including ScottishPower and Scottish and Southern Energy.

The centre, which is backed by Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council, will play a key role in increasing the UK electricity grid’s efficiency and reliability, as well as testing the next generation of smart electrical technologies.

Around 25 staff will be based at the centre in Cumbernauld. It will include the most advanced, control, monitoring and communications systems and is expected to open at the end of this year.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said: “The Power Network Demonstration Centre brings together the skills and expertise of academics and industry leaders to drive forward innovation and efficiencies in energy and smart grid technologies.

“The creation of this world class research centre reinforces Scotland’s reputation as a leader in energy and engineering and will help to shape global energy efficiencies and carbon reductions.

Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: “The centre will be a valuable addition to Scotland’s business infrastructure, helping bring together academia and industry to boost productivity and enhance competitiveness through innovation and the commercialisation of new electrical technologies.

“With increasing demand worldwide to boost reliability and effectiveness of renewable energy and carbon reducing technology, the centre will provide a much needed testing ground to facilitate faster development and adoption of technologies and maintain Scotland’s position as leader in renewable energy and innovative low carbon technologies.”

Mark Batho, chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, added: “This is an exciting development in harnessing the energy Scotland produces and plugging it into the National Grid.”