GE Energy has opened what is claimed to be Europe’s first smart-grid centre at the company’s Bracknell headquarters.
The centre has been designed for stakeholders in energy generation and management to experience what GE describes as a ‘turbine-to-toaster’ view of the smart grid: a concept designed to improve energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions.
GE’s smart-grid technologies include grid automation and control, computerised outage isolation/ repair and smart meters and communications platforms designed to help consumers understand and manage their energy consumption.
By demonstrating the technologies in a smart-grid context, the centre aims to show how it can work together to improve the reliability and efficiency across the energy system.
Speaking at the launch of the centre, Lord Hunt, energy and climate-change minister, said that smart-grid technologies present the UK with the mechanisms with which to implement low-carbon strategies.
Earlier in the year, the Low Carbon Transition Plan stated that 40 per cent of the country’s electricity would have to come fromlow-carbon sources by 2020.
By 2050, virtually all of Britain’s electricity will need to be generated from clean energy sources to achieve an 80 per cent reduction in all carbon emissions, said Hunt. Electricity output will also have to increase due to the electrification of heat and transport.
“By 2050, virtually all of Britain’s electricity will need to be generated from clean energy sources”
‘The low-carbon plan identifies the need for a bigger, smarter grid,’ he said.
‘Bigger because the extension and reinforcement of the networks will be essential in order to connect renewable-energy sources and integrate them into the existing infrastructure.
‘The great thing about smartgrid technologies is they present the possibility of monitoring and managing the fluctuations of power generated by large-scale renewable resources, meeting efficiency so that reinforcement and construction costs can be minimised,’ added Hunt.