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Scotland Makes a Play for Smart-Grid Leadership

By Joao Peixe,|Oilprice.com
Monday, 11 Jun 2012 | 2:53 PM ET

Scotland has set itself the renewable energy target of producing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

A problem with renewable energy over traditional fossil fuels is that the power level generated varies greatly dependant on several factors, and this can put great stress on existing electrical grids, and cause problems of matching supply with demand for grid coordinators.

Smart Grids are digitally enabled grids that can accommodate changing patterns of demand and electricity generation. They help to easily and efficiently balance the different power levels coming from the renewable energy sources connected into the network. The increased efficiency reduces the price to the consumers and increases the reliability of the supply.

Smart Grids will be very important for Scotland’s renewable energy ambitions, and for this reason there are numerous world class Smart Grid research centres already exist in Scotland such as the Power Networks Demonstration Centre in Cumbernauld, the Electrical Power System Protection Laboratory of the University of Strathclyde and the Hydrogen Office in Fife; with even more currently in development, including the Clyde Gateway which is part of the Sustainable Glasgow initiative.

In May, at the All Energy conference in Aberdeen, First Minister Alex Salmond announced a new Smart Grid Strategy which plans to capitalise on the knowledge, expertise, and experience created during Scotland’s transformation to a renewable energy economy, in order to export that knowledge and experience and create a new sector of which Scotland will naturally become the world leader.

He predicts that nearly 12,000 jobs could be created by 2020 by developing just a few key areas: encouragement of innovation, maximisation of the impact of pilot and demonstrator projects in Scotland, increased awareness of energy management, development of a supply chain to seize economic opportunities for Scotland and improved dialogue and engagement across the sector and with related sectors

—This story originally appeared on Oilprice.com.

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