The Power Networks Demonstration Centre continues to go from strength to strength as the need for development and testing to realise future smart grids continues to gather pace. Vodafone represents the second major Tier 1 member to join the facility in as many months following the recent signing of UK Power Networks.

The centre, based on the outskirts of Glasgow and part of the University of Strathclyde, brings together academics, engineers and technologists to define and execute research, development, and demonstration projects that will help shape the electricity industry of the future.

This amalgamation is underpinned by testing facilities comprising real 11kV and LV distribution networks, which are flexible with the ability to vary voltage, frequency, inject harmonics and perform disturbance testing in a controlled environment. Complimenting this arrangement are secure test bays, MW-scale MG Set, dedicated SCADA control room and real-time simulation suite. This affords the pre-commercial testing of HV and LV equipment and secondary control, protection, communications and measurement systems.  Having a real distribution network available to for testing and development purposes allows for the accelerated development and commercialisation of new smart grid technologies.

As part of their membership, Vodafone will participate in the PNDC’s Core Research Program and benefit from the collaboration of academia and industry partners as they shape future networks innovation projects to be undertaken at the facility. Vodafone represents the first stakeholder to join the Tier 1 membership from outside of the energy networks industry, alongside the three District Network Operators SSE, Scottish Power and UK Power Networks. It is the PNDC’s intention to grow this group to represent all stakeholders across the smart grid and future cities landscape.

Networks of today and the future are emerging with more sensors and measurement.   This information needs to be effectively communicated.  This need coupled with new communications solutions for existing power network operators using radio, wifi, satellite and existing methodologies present the background of how the PNDC can accelerate the communications solutions deployment to bring about intelligent networks of the future.   We are delighted that Vodafone have joined us on this journey.”

David Rutherford, CEO, Power Networks Demonstration Centre

Vodafone is one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies and provides a range of services including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications. Vodafone has mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 55 more, and fixed broadband operations in 17 markets.  As of 30 June 2015, Vodafone had 449 million mobile customers and 12 million fixed broadband customers.

“The utility sector is of strategic importance to Vodafone, we provide mission critical communication services both in the UK and around the globe. We are delighted to become a tier 1 member of the PNDC which will give us access to a world class facility. Working alongside PNDC members and the academic resources of Strathclyde University will further support the development of services relevant for the changing needs of our utility customers.”

Wayne Flanagan, Head of Utilities, Vodafone Machine to Machine