Scots leading way in meeting future energy needs

Alex Salmond believes Scotland is 'leading the way' in meeting future energy needs. Picture: Jane Barlow
Alex Salmond believes Scotland is 'leading the way' in meeting future energy needs. Picture: Jane Barlow
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SCOTLAND is “leading the way” in meeting the world’s energy needs of the future, First Minister Alex Salmond said today, as he opened Europe’s first “world class” electricity grid research centre.

• Scottish Government believes energy sector has potential to generate up to 12,000 jobs by 2020

• New centre in Cumbernauld will examine how technology can shape future low-carbon power industry

• Up to a tenth of electricity lost during transmission into homes; centre will aim to improve on this

The £12.5 milion Power Networks Demonstration centre (PNDC) in Cumbernauld will examine how the low-carbon power industry of the future can be shaped by advanced technologies.

It aims to improve the way electricity is carried across the national grid. At the moment, up to a tenth of electricity can be lost as it is transmitted along the network and into homes. The PNDC is a joint partnnership between Strathclyde University and leading energy firms.

Mr Salmond said today: “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.”

The Scottish Government believes that the sector has the potential to generate up to 12,000 jobs by 2020 and the PNDC will be at the heart of this.

“This firmly puts Scotland at the forefront of smart electrical technologies and sets new standards in electrical distribution,” he said.

The centre uses a mini electricity grid system, not connected to the national grid, to test new technologies.

It is part of the Scottish Smart Grid Strategy, launched by Mr Salmond last year. Other partners include Scottish Power, SSE, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council.

Frank Mitchell, CEO of ScottishPower Energy Networks, said: “We are on the verge of delivering the largest upgrades to our electricity networks in more than half a century - which will see billions of pounds of investment and create thousands of jobs.

“Partnerships like the Power Networks Demonstration Centre are a vital part of the energy industry’s plans to ensure this investment meets the future needs of our customers in Scotland and across Britain.”