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Modernized grid cuts carbon, energy costs

The UK government has set out its vision for how to modernize the energy grid for better efficiency, lower carbon emissions and improved energy security.

The “Smart Grid Vision and Routemap” was released today by the Smart Grid Forum, a body created by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and energy industry regulator Ofgem.

The report states:

“To realise the full potential of smart grids, the entire electricity system including transmission and distribution networks, the system operator, suppliers, generators, and consumers and markets will need to evolve. Whilst this document reflects on the implications of smart grids for the system as a whole, the primary focus is on the challenges facing electricity distribution networks as these are the part of the electricity system with the greatest opportunity for smart interventions and where investment is required to ensure it can cope with the increasing demands and new requirements that are already emerging.”

Intended to be adaptable, the routemap will be “refreshed as the energy landscape develops,” the authors note.

The publication identifies several keys to making sure the UK’s energy infrastructure progresses in the right direction:

  • Continued policy development and testing to demonstrate the effectiveness of smart-grid technologies;
  • Support for regulatory and commercial frameworks that make it possible to deploy smart technologies and new commercial practices;
  • Better understanding of what can motivate consumers to change how they use energy and view technologies like smart meters;
  • Ongoing investment in research and development to make the most of new opportunities for energy- and grid-related jobs and economic growth.

“Smart grids will take us a step further towards an affordable, low carbon energy system and (have) the potential to reduce costs for consumers,” said Hannah Nixon, senior partner at Ofgem. “The UK is leading the way in Europe as Ofgem is encouraging network companies to innovate and develop smarter networks. We recognize that the transition to a smarter grid will bring opportunities and challenges to all involved and look forward to continue working with others across the energy sector for a smarter future.”

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