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Smarter Grid Solutions has developed software to cut grid integration costs by 90 percent, and increase grid capacity by 300 percent.

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SGS software makes the existing grid more efficient

With more renewable and distributed energy sources coming on stream, utility companies are having to find smart ways to integrate that power into existing grid systems. Faced with the huge expense and inconvenience of extending and upgrading existing interconnectors, many are turning to innovative software to cut both costs and connection times.

One answer is Glasgow-based Smarter Grid Solutions’ (SGS) Active Network Management system, and its managed grid connections.

Smart thinking

Instead of building new infrastructure, Smart Grid technology allows operators to make the grid more efficient and productive, allowing renewable energy to be used to its full advantage.

Using real time data analysis, the software can cut traditional grid integration costs by up to 90%, and help increase grid capacity by up to 300%.

It's no surprise that the 2020 global market for Smart Grid products and systems has been estimated at £24 billion.

Innovation-led success

Launched in 2008 as a spin-out from research at Strathclyde University, SGS attracted early support from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) through its Co-investment Fund. Together with the Environmental Energies Fund (EEF) they put £500,000 into the start-up.

Since then, and following a funding package of £2 million from the Scottish Loan Fund, SGS has become a world leader in Smart Grid technology, working with major Distribution Network Operators in the UK, America and Canada.

Just as our technology increases the power and capacity of the grid, SIB’s backing has helped extend our power and capacity to do business, both here in the UK, and overseas.

Ian Forgie, SGS finance director

Sit up and take notice

SGS finance director Ian Forgie says: “The seed funding from SIB was crucial to the business. It wasn’t just the money that was important, it was the encouragement it offered us.

“Not only did the Scottish Co-Investment Fund investment help us to develop our tech and shape and grow the business, it also made other potential investors sit up and take notice.”

Creating high-skilled jobs in Scotland

In 2015, encouraged by the global opportunities for Smart Grid technology, the Scottish Loan Fund, managed by Maven Capital Partners, completed a funding package of £2 million in SGS, enabling the company to accelerate product development and fund continued expansion in the UK, Europe and the US.

Ian says: “We knew we had a good product, and good people. Scottish Enterprise’s continuing involvement has confirmed that.

“The grid connection problem is a global one, and we aim to become a global business, creating high-skilled jobs in Scotland.

“Just as our technology increases the power and capacity of the grid, SIB’s backing has helped extend our power and capacity to do business, both here and overseas.”

Cracking overseas markets

“The UK is a reference point when entering the US market,” says Ian. “Once we had successfully proved the technology here, we started looking overseas.”

Scottish Development International (SDI) support helped SGS break into these global markets. SDI provided funding for staff to attend overseas trade events, and helped scope out new business opportunities.

SGS has now been in the US for three years, has a dedicated New York office, and has secured three major contracts with major US distribution network operators.

Billion-dollar ambitions

Ian says: “In the next three years we hope to expand dramatically in the North American market, which we estimate to be worth over £1 billion. We have already tapped into New York, California, and Canada, which gives us a great platform to demonstrate and roll out the technology.

“We are also now looking to Germany, and the big opportunities opening up in China.”

Find out more about the Scottish Investment Bank