Scotland business

Smart grid research centre powers ahead in Cumbernauld

artist impression of new centre
Image caption The centre will include the most advanced, control, monitoring and communications systems.

A multi-million pound research centre which aims to speed up the adoption of new, 'smart' energy technologies is to be opened in Cumbernauld.

The £12.5m Power Network Demonstration Centre will be the first of its kind in Europe.

It is being created by Strathclyde University and a number of leading energy companies.

The centre aims to play a key role in increasing the UK electricity grid's efficiency and reliability.

It will also test the next generation of smart electrical technologies.

Its work will support the integration of new renewable energy sources, electric vehicles and smart household appliances with the grid, which in turn should lower costs and emissions.

About 25 staff will be based at the centre which will include advanced control, monitoring and communications systems.

Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Energy are also involved in developing the centre with support from Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council.

It is expected to open at the end of 2011.

Professor Jim McDonald, principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: "The Power Network Demonstration Centre will support the development and accelerated deployment of new electrical power distribution technologies, helping the UK's energy and engineering industries compete on the world stage."

First Minister Alex Salmond said: "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."

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