Smart grid in Scotland

ScottishPower is set to embark on a project with the ambition of completely revolutionising the electricity network in Glasgow by developing the UK’s largest smart grid.

The company plans to devise and install technology that will improve the reliability and quality of electricity supplies as well as increasing energy efficiency and reducing bills.

A smart grid will also allow households that generate their own electricity to sell excess power back to the grid and help facilitate a network capable of supporting widespread use of electric vehicles.

As part of the Clyde Gateway project, a regeneration scheme in the east end of Glasgow, ScottishPower is already developing and trialling a localised smart grid system.

The company has set-up a dedicated team of engineers to work on the concept, using its own investment as well as seeking funds from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the energy regulator Ofgem.

Intelligent monitoring devices will keep track of all electricity flowing in the system so that it operates in the most efficient manner. A smart grid will balance the power produced by micro-generation with larger-scale generation such as wind power as well as traditional power stations. It will also be designed to allow the grid to reconfigure itself in the event of a fault or excess demand so that interruptions to supplies are minimised.

ScottishPower recently announced that it plans to increase its trials of smart meters, which will be an essential part of the smart grid concept. It will be installing up to 100,000 new meters in properties over the next two years before the full UK roll-out begins.

Ultimately, the UK is aiming to develop full smart grid capabilities over the next two decades, but the project in Glasgow gives ScottishPower the opportunity to develop the largest in the UK.

The company is planning to work with a range of academics and public bodies to deliver the project in Glasgow.