New collective aims to spur on development of UK smart grid

A new cross-industry body for promoting a UK smart energy grid aims to accelerate the development and delivery of the technology.

SmartGrid GB, which launched at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London yesterday, brings together players from the energy and IT sectors with environmental organisations, government, regulators and consumer groups.

It will promote the benefits of a computerised electricity network that can better match supply with demand, helping to reduce energy consumption and bills, as well as CO2 emissions.

Speaking at SmartGrid GB’s launch, energy minister Charles Hendry said: ‘The implementation of the smart grid will be of critical importance to the UK’s future.

‘It will be essential for meeting our future energy demands; ensuring our energy supply remains secure and resilient; and reducing our overall carbon emissions.’

‘To make the smart grid happen, we need to bring people and organisations together. We need to understand all of the possibilities available and set out a common vision of what can be achieved, and we need to ensure that ongoing actions are effectively co-ordinated.’

The group will co-ordinate the different parties involved to provide government with policy advice and direction on what actions are required and how the smart grid can be delivered.

The establishment of SmartGrid GB has been led by Intellect, the trade association for the UK’s technology sector and key stakeholders from the utilities industry.

Robert McNamara of Intellect said: ‘Developing a smart grid is vital if the UK is to fully exploit the exciting developments in electric cars, micro generation [and] smart metering, and [to] meet our carbon reduction targets. Success in smart grid will create new jobs and drive innovation.’

Gavin Jones of IBM, acting chair of SmartGrid GB, said: ‘SmartGrid GB will serve as a national champion for the development of smart grid in Britain.

‘We can’t afford to fall behind our competitors. We will set out an ambitious and challenging vision and develop a plan of how we get there.’