UK Power Networks has become the latest Distribution Network Operator (DNO) to become a Tier 1 member of the Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC), a world class facility for research,   testing and development of smart grid technologies.

The facility 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.  The facility is underpinned by testing facilities comprising high-voltage 11kV and LV distribution network and laboratories.

As a key part of their membership, UK Power Networks will participate in the PNDC Core Research Programme and benefit from the collaboration of academia and industry partners as they shape future innovation projects to be undertaken at the facility. The move to full Tier 1 membership builds upon significant research work already jointly completed, including validation for accelerated deployment of a highly innovative power optimisation technology.

The PNDC will also act as a gateway for UK Power Networks to access international innovation via its links with DERLab, an association of 31 international leading laboratories and research institutes in the field of distributed energy resources equipment and systems. The association develops joint requirements and quality criteria for the connection and operation of distributed energy resources (DER).

UK Power Networks distribute approximately 27% of Britain’s electricity, serving over eight million customers in London, the South East and East of England and have responsibility for 130,000 substations and 170,000 km of overhead lines and underground cables which deliver power to consumer’s properties.  UK Power Networks is currently undertaking trials to support the transition to a low carbon future and membership of the PNDC clearly demonstrates the company’s intention to be industry leaders in accelerated network innovation.

‘At the PNDC we aim to build long term strategic relationships with our partner organisations, having UKPN as a Tier 1 member of our facility is a significant step forward in that direction.  UK Power Networks will be contributing to and benefiting from our Core Research Programme; where academics, researchers and industry partners collaborate to develop and implement solutions which will help shape electricity networks and systems of the future.  We look forward to developing and growing our relationship and are delighted to have UK Power Networks on board.” PNDC CEO David Rutherford

Barry Hatton, Director of Asset Management at UK Power Networks, said: “UK Power Networks is very pleased to be working with the PNDC to access the current and future research programmes to further enhance business performance.”