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Smarter Grid Solutions to supply London low-carbon project

A small Glasgow technology firm has been recruited to play an important part in the drive to help clean up the sprawling metropolis of London. Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) has won a £2.9 million contract to supply the software that it developed to help link wind farms and electric cars with the national grid for use in the city.
From press releases - 7 March 2011 09:00 AM

The firm’s grid management technologies will be used in the Low Carbon London project.

The three-year project is one of four schemes that the regulator Ofgem is funding to encourage the development of the “smart grids” that champions believe could accelerate the move to a low carbon economy. The grids are intended to help transmission infrastructure that has been in place for decades cope with the demands imposed by new power generation systems and low carbon technologies.

The contract is a significant coup for Smarter Grid Solutions, which will work with industrial giants such as Siemens and National Grid on the project.

Just three years after the company was spun out of Strathclyde University, Smarter Grid Solutions expects to increase employee numbers to 35 from 20 currently, to support the project. This will showcase technology that was developed in Glasgow and first deployed in the Orkney Isles with Scottish and Southern Energy in 2009.

Formed by the engineering entrepreneur Alan Gooding, Professor Graham Ault and Dr Robert Currie, SGS developed ways of using information and communications technology to overcome some of the limitations of the existing grid. This was developed to channel the power generated in huge coal-fired stations to consumers and business users.

The capacity of power lines tends to be fixed, irrespective of prevailing weather conditions. Increasing use of electricity to power cars in place of petrol will impose big demands on power grids.

Mr Gooding said Smarter Grid Solutions' systems can boost the efficiency of grids and make them compatible with new technologies such as solar power and biomass without requiring heavy physical investment. For example, the company’s software can send instructions to windfarms to adjust the amount of power they generate automatically to suit the capacity available in power lines. It can be used to switch heating systems on in homes at the time when power can be supplied most efficiently.

Mr Gooding said Smarter Grid Solutions’ reputation is growing at home and overseas. 
“We already have more than 10,000 hours of operational experience with Scottish & Southern Energy on the Orkney Isles where our technology is at the heart of one of the first major Smart Grid deployments in the world.”

Robert Armour, a former general counsel at British Energy, the nuclear generator, recently became chairman at the firm.

The company is on track to record revenues of £420,000 in the year to March.