Europe’s first electricity grid research centre


First Minister Alex Salmond has opened Europe’s first world-class electricity grid research centre. The centre will examine how advanced technologies can shape the low-carbon power industry of the future.

The £12.5 million Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC) in Cumbernauld has been established in response to growing demand for secure, reliable and environmentally-friendly power, and uses a mini electricity grid system, not connected to the national network to test new technology.

The facility, a venture between the University of Strathclyde, Scottish Power, SSE, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council, is part of the Scottish Smart Grid Strategy, launched by the First Minister in 2012, which seeks to make Scotland a leading provider of “smart grid” technology that will improve the efficiency of the distribution of electricity. 

The purpose-built centre, will be home to researchers, engineers and industry specialists who will conduct new research and develop new technologies in this sector, from advanced grid control schemes to intelligent sensor systems.

During the official opening of the new centre in Cumbernauld, Mr 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. 

“I am therefore delighted to open this hugely innovative research centre, which is a fantastic example of researchers, engineers and industry specialists working together to improve energy efficiency. This firmly putting Scotland at the forefront of smart electrical technologies and setting new standards in electrical distribution.”