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United Kingdom

UK smart-grid lobby group formed

UK: Former UK energy minister Charles Hendry is to head a new consortium of energy bodies to lobby government on its vision of the smart grid future.

The new group will lobby the UK government for a smarter grid network (pic: Geography.org.uk)
The new group will lobby the UK government for a smarter grid network (pic: Geography.org.uk)

The Smart Power Industrial Alliance (SPIA) is calling for a level playing field for central and decentralised energy systems.

The biggest disruption caused by any future energy system will be borne by distributed network operators, which will need to harness a much more fluid relationship between consumer, local generator and grid.

Leading trade bodies from the renewables sector — including the Solar Trade Association, Energy UK, the Electricity Storage Network, Renewable UK, Scottish Renewables, the Energy Networks Association and the Renewables Energy Association — have grouped together to create "an industry-wide consensus" to help promote its cause to government.

Alongside the system operator National Grid, it plans to deliver smart power solutions across the electricity industry with five joint aims.

Its core focus is on consumers benefiting from the smart transition, with professor Goran Strbac, from Imperial College, positioned as its expert adviser on smart power.

SPIA wants to facilitate the creation of new markets to allow innovative, flexible technologies to compete on fair and equal terms with established technologies. This includes the digital and data sectors, too.

It also agrees to take a whole-system approach to smart energy and will develop incentives for the heat, transport and power sectors to work together to deliver decarbonisation "at the best value to consumers".

Its fourth aim is to accelerate the smart power transition and provide consistent policy and regulatory direction in line with the government's carbon objectives, with the knock-on effect of boosting investor confidence.

Finally, it hopes to make smart power central to its industrial strategy, incentivising key sectors to invest in smart technologies and maximise the benefits for the UK economy globally.

Changes for the future of the grid are already underway with the separation of the National Grid's electricity and transmission functions announced in January.

First published on Ends Report

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