Whirlpool, the company that plans to manufacture a million smart grid-compatible clothes dryers by the end of 2011 (see previous article), has joined with GE and others to launch the Smart Green Grid Initiative (SGGI).
It’s a collaborative effort aimed at showing how smart grid technologies and practices can help achieve climate change goals. SGGI has been approved by the UN as an official smart grid delegation to the Copenhagen meetings and will be holding educational sessions at the event.
The idea is to show governments, industry and policy makers how smart grid technologies fit with other plans to become more energy efficient and reduce emissions. For example, explaining the role smart grids play managing the variable nature of renewable energy sources. Also, how demand response and energy storage solutions can can complement the delivery of renewable resources.
“We launch this effort today to try to illustrate the relationship between a smart grid with smart products and technologies, and the global effort to mitigate climate change,” said Jeff Noel, corporate vice president, Communications and Public Affairs, Whirlpool Corporation. “Complementary policies in these areas will benefit consumers, create jobs, and reduce environmental impact. Today, these two areas are for the most part in different silos, and there is not enough awareness or understanding of how important development of the smart grid can be to meeting climate change goals.”
SGGI supporters include utilities and technology companies. In addition, the Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition and the Demand Response Coordinating Committee, the main US groups promoting the development of the smart grids, will be supporting SGGI.
SGGI also says it’s holding several webinars and a Capitol Hill briefing to build awareness and it has its own web site at www.smartgreengrid.org, which has information about events, as well as explaining the role smart grids can play.
This looks like a good initiative and one that ICT companies could benefit from signing up to (Google and LG were the only ICT companies listed as members in the press release). It is certainly an area where more education is required for both the public and policy makers. There is still a significant number of people (and commentators) that see smart grids as an expensive government white elephant. In fact as well as an essential part of the effective management of energy use in the future, it also opens up enormous business opportunities for the ICT market in particular and the business community in general.