The Scottish Government has launched a smart grid strategy to capitalise on its expertise in this technology and to support the country’s transition to become a low carbon economy. The strategy plans to create 12,000 new jobs in this sector by 2020 by encouraging smart grid adoption and developing Scotland as a leading international provider of smart grid technologies and expertise.
Smart grid technologies help to make the generation, transmission and use of energy more efficient. They are also important in integrating energy from renewable power – where Scotland has a world leading reputation – and help the network to be balanced more easily and efficiently.
This brings considerable benefits to the consumer, such as more reliable, sustainable and cost-efficient electricity.
It is estimated that the 2020 UK market for customer energy management products and services is worth £1.5 billion and the UK network automation and optimisation market is £1 billion – the strategy indicates that Scotland is well-positioned to capture a significant share of these market segments.
Scotland already has world-class research in smart grid and related technologies such as the Power Networks Demonstration Centre, which tests innovative distribution network technologies; the Hydrogen Office which is a demonstration centre for energy storage using hydrogen fuel cells; and the Electrical Power System Protection Laboratory, part of the University of Strathclyde, which tests protection systems for power systems in addition to intelligent network management and control methods for future smart grid and microgrid applications.
Commenting on the strategy, First Minister Alex Salmond said:
"Scotland is playing an important role in the emerging global low carbon economy, including pursuing a target to ensure renewable energy generates at least 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity demand by 2020.
"The development of smart grid technologies and services will be an important part of this green energy drive – and an important opportunity for Scottish businesses and research institutions."