Research, conducted by The Future Laboratory and involving a global panel of experts, highlights the electricity issues that must be addressed and the trends that will combine to make the smart grid and smart energy a reality.
Reading, UK –
· Oracle, in partnership with future trends consultancy, The Future Laboratory, today launches Future of Energy, a study which looks at the role smart grids will play in meeting the energy efficiency targets set by the European Union’s (EU) Low Carbon 2050 Strategy, which calls for an 80-95% cut of greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2050. The report highlights the electricity issues that must be addressed over the next four decades and the trends that will combine to achieve decarbonisation of the industry and society.
· The Future Laboratory recruited a panel of experts from Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) including Hans Martens (European Policy Commission), Will Pearson (Eurasia Group) and Monika Stajnarova (BEUC) to consider how carbon emission targets of 2050 can be met through commercial investment, consumer engagement and political leadership. As well, experts provided their views on the role technology will play towards a smart energy future
· The study asserts that ‘nudge’ policies and choice architectures have been introduced by governments and utilities to encourage greater energy efficiency to meet targets. These include:
o Gaining consumer support by providing a range of incentives to help reduce energy demands placed on the grid by domestic users
o Introducing legislation to promote change
· The report states that smart grids capable of integrating clean technologies – such as wind and solar energy – and also able to efficiently align power supply and demand will play a critical role in achieving decarbonisation. Additionally, data will be as important as energy itself in the power grid of the future and the successful interpretation of this data will be of central importance in safeguarding energy security. Using ICT to converge data will also be needed to ensure energy transformation
· The Future Laboratory identified a number of key technology areas that will play a critical role in meeting the rise in electricity demand, these include:
o Providing reliable electricity supplies, especially as economies move to an even greater dependence on digital technology
o Using advance demand-side management tools to encourage load-shifting away from periods of peak demand
o Implementing smart information systems able to respond in near real-time to enable dynamic pricing, providing customers with real-time differentiated electricity prices
o Making consumer data and dynamic energy rates readily available to encourage development of new business models, fostering competition and altering the competitive landscape
· However, the study confirmed that there are a number of vulnerabilities affecting the uptake of the smart grid such as lack of investment in consumer awareness and education, the need to ensure end-to-end privacy and security, and no set, common standards
· Experts contributing to the study believe that the rapid adoption of electric vehicles will have a dramatic impact on the smart grid by spurring infrastructure investment, encouraging new services and promoting public awareness and engagement with their energy use
· The Future of Energy report concludes that widely shared objectives of energy security, reduced emissions and continued economic growth are dependent on the development of a smart grid capable of delivering energy efficiency and demand response, as well as integrating renewable and variable sources of energy
· The report is available to download from http://www.oracle.com/us/industries/utilities/utilities-future-energy-525446.pdf
· Bastian Fischer, Vice President, Industry Strategy, Oracle Utilities said: “The smart grid is crucial for a smart energy future and to meet 2050 energy efficiency targets. The smart grid will provide utilities with a new wealth of data intelligence and granular insight into customer usage patterns, into near real-time status of their distribution network and allow better planning of the conventional and renewable energy supply chains and optimisation of the network assets. . Although good progress has already been made by many countries, we still have a long way to go to make the smart grid a reality. In particular, guaranteeing privacy will be important for customer confidence and essential in encouraging the participation in smart energy.”
· Hans Martens, Chief Executive, European Policy Centre, said smart grid technologies are essential: “It is one of the most important measures, because it can help achieve goals without changing lifestyles, and sometimes with relatively small investments. Using ICT also creates a win-win situation. We reduce the use of carbon based fuel, we reduce emissions, we estimate growth, jobs and innovations, and we save money.”
· Paul Smith, Operations Manager of the UK’s Energy Networks Associate said: “The roll-out of smart meters and smart grid technologies represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address many legacy issues.”
· Monika Stajnarova, Economist at BEUC said: “The consumer is not sure of the technology and that must be addressed before the deployment of smart meters can be successful. Consumers must be engaged with smart meters if their energy behaviour is to be changed.”
· David Weatherall of the UK’s Energy Saving Trust said: “If we get the education and awareness phase right I think people will be willing to let their information be used in a flexible and empowering way so that we can help them save energy.”
· Frits Bliek, Principal Consultant with energy consultancy, KEMA, said: “The charging infrastructure required by electric vehicles is a big issue and will help to move the whole discussion of smart energy forward.”
· Jeff Erikson of think tank SustainAbility echoes similar thoughts by saying: “I’m convinced that electric vehicles are one of the primary catalysts moving us towards a low carbon future.”
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