The Experimental Power Grid Centre, one of the largest experimental power grid facilities in the world, was officially opened in Singapore yesterday by S. Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry.

Located on Jurong Island, EPGC, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s (A*STAR’s) centre for energy research is established to support Singapore’s goal toward developing a smart energy economy. The facility will pave the way for cutting-edge research and research collaborations with local and international partners to develop future energy technologies in areas of electrical power networks and energy distribution and renewable energy resources, for eventual commercialisation.

At the opening, A*STAR’s EPGC signed a research collaboration agreement with SP PowerGrid and three MOUs, respectively, with Housing Development Board (HDB), Meidensha Corporation Japan and National Instruments. These agreements span research in varied fields, including renewable energy integration, advanced high efficiency inverters and smart grid control, with the aim of developing robust, cutting-edge solutions that can be quickly adopted and implemented.

The research collaboration with SP PowerGrid will study how to improve the reliability of the grid to enable SP PowerGrid to continue delivering power reliability and quality.

HDB is another local partner that is leveraging EPGC’s R&D capabilities to jointly explore the integration of renewable energy for public housing.

Beyond local partners, EPGC has also attracted the interest of international companies like National Instruments and Meidensha. US-based company National Instruments will be collaborating with EPGC to develop advanced measurement and control technologies for smart grids.

Meidensha, a Japanese manufacturer in the heavy electric industry, will engage in research with EPGC to develop high efficiency control technology for advanced medium voltage inverters that are used in industrials pumps and fans.

This latest public-private partnerships will add to existing collaborations forged with Vestas and Rolls Royce, during the centre’s groundbreaking in July 2010.

Vestas has already completed a project with EPGC to co-develop technologies to enhance the capabilities of wind turbines. Rolls Royce, a global power systems provider, has begun research on marine grid system with EPGC.

EPGC is also working closely with local stakeholders such as its partner agencies including the Economic Development Board, Energy Market Authority (EMA), JTC Corporation and National Environment Agency to create Singapore’s smart grid value chain from R&D initiation to commercial test-bedding and eventual technology adoption.