A new cross industry body was launched last Thursday to champion the development and delivery of smart grids in Great Britain. SmartGrid GB is the idea of Intellect, the UK ICT trade association, together with key stakeholders from the utilities industry, but will also include NGOs, government, regulators and consumer groups.
The aim is to promote the consumer, environmental and economic benefits of smart grid infrastructure. The group will provide government with policy advice and direction on what actions are required and how smart grid can be delivered.
Gavin Jones of IBM and acting Chair of SmartGrid GB said “Britain can’t afford to fall behind its competitors. SmartGrid GB will set out an ambitious and challenging vision and develop a plan of how we get there. It will bring together the best minds and best ideas and provide a step-change in our engagement with government. This really is a call to arms.”
Founding members of the group are: Accenture, Alcatel-Lucent, Astrium, British Gas, Cable & Wireless, Consumer Focus, EDF Energy, Gemserv, General Electric, IBM, Intellect, Logica, McAfee, RWE npower, Power Plus Communications, SAP, Siemens, SP Energy Networks, UK Power Networks, and Utiligroup. DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) and Ofgem (the UK energy regulator) will be observer members and companies from across the utility and technology sectors, academic organisations and consumer bodies are all being invited to join.
SmartGrid GB will also be the newest member of the Global Smart Grid Federation - a network of similar organisations from the USA, Japan, India, Ireland, South Korea, Australia and Canada that share ideas and best practice.
This is a good move by Intellect to keep the smart grid/smart meter momentum moving and I like the ‘step-change in our engagement with government’ comment.
Smart grids and meters are the basic infrastructure that will have huge implications for the country as a whole, both in terms of energy provision, particularly renewable energy, and how consumers use resources. Decisions made now may well determine the uptake of electric vehicles and influence how we consume energy in our homes.
Most of it relies on ICT, so the government needs as much support (not to say pressure) to get it right. In the current economic climate we can’t rely on government to make the best long-term decisions, particularly where ICT investment is concerned (and green ICT at that).