Networks and a smart grid ‘critical’ to low carbon future

For immediate release - Monday 23 September 2013 

Speaking at Energy Networks Association fringe event at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex MP, set out the critical role a smart grid will play in delivering our low carbon energy future:

“There is a huge infrastructure need that we have to achieve, specifically for networks. If we are to overcome the significant challenges we face, smarter networks are going to be critical not only so we can make better use of renewables but also for other low carbon technologies. We need a smart grid to achieve a low carbon energy future that is affordable.”

Basil Scarsella, Chief Executive of UK Power Networks said:

“The networks are enablers and our low carbon policies rely on a smart grid to help deliver affordable, secure and sustainable energy. A smart grid will enable consumers to gain control of their energy. They will be able to choose to use it when it costs less and sell it back to the network when they generate it themselves.

When asked about the mandatory demand response, Basil said:

“We have successful agreements with some customers that have been dictated by the market, but price signals are likely to be necessary. I believe an incentives scheme is more effective as it encourages people to want to do something rather than forcing them.”

Jason Kitcat, Leader of Brighton and Hove Council and from the Green Party said:

“A smart grid will need to be fully integrated to be successful. It is a necessary precursor to a low carbon future but there will need to be a change in consumers’ behaviour and attitudes to be truly effective.

“Although a smart grid is essential, even if it is smart, it still has coal at the end supplying it. If we are to really be smart about our energy then we need to revolutionise the whole process."

Dr Nazmiye Ozkan, Senior Research Fellow at University of Westminster explained the need for a a whole system and policy approach:

"A smart grid isn't just a technical development, it has wide ranging benefits and will enable consumer demand to be shifted, it will benefit the economy and jobs through innovation and new technology than can support other sectors like transport, and it will help with great network resilience to restore power to homes.

"The move to a smart grid is a journey but it will require a policy transformation and coherence. It will need to be clear and concise and needs to address concerns about data privacy and also ensure there is fairness through a more cost-reflective price for those who cannot shift demand."

ENDS

Notes to editors

ENA is the voice of the networks representing the ‘wires and pipes’ transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland.

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Energy Networks Association
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