Strathclyde University, Scotland, is to be home to a smartgrid research centre that aims to accelerate the adoption of new electricity-related technologies, from advanced power grids to electric cars.
The £12.5 million Power Network Demonstration Centre, which is said to be the first of its kind in Europe, is being created by the university with backing from the utility companies Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Energy, with money from Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council.
The Centre intends to increase the efficiency and reliability of the UK’s electricity grid and be a proving ground next-generation of electricity technologies. Its research will support the integration of new renewable energy sources, electric vehicles and smart household appliances with the grid.
Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister said the Power Network Demonstration Centre will bring together the skills and expertise of academics and industry leaders to drive innovation and efficiencies in energy and smart grid technologies. “The creation of this [….] centre reinforces Scotland’s reputation as a leader in energy and engineering and will help to shape global energy efficiencies and carbon reductions.”
Jim McDonald, Principal of Strathclyde University said, “It is critical that we remove the technical and economic barriers to connecting these technologies to our existing infrastructure.”
Around 25 staff will be based at Centre, which is expected to open at the end of 2011.
Jim Sutherland, Network Development Director at Scottish Power, said that by bringing together the academic world with industry, the new centre will push forward developments that will support the integration of low carbon technologies, such as electric vehicles and renewable generation, and help to create robust electricity infrastructure. “In order to meet climate change targets, collaboration and innovation will be vital to move the UK towards a low carbon economy. The Power Network Demonstration Centre represents a significant step forward for innovation in the electricity industry,” Sutherland said.
Alan Broadbent, Head of Engineering at Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution, said, “By better understanding the impact of both small and larger scale distributed generation on our networks we should be able to allow larger volumes to connect without further works. The centre has been designed to not only facilitate this but also allow trials of new customer side technologies that offer exciting opportunities within business and the home.”