MPs, energy sector firms launch smart power alliance

  A group of organisations in the UK energy industry have joined forces to create new markets for smart technologies and hep enable consumers to become generators. The Smart Power […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha
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A group of organisations in the UK energy industry have joined forces to create new markets for smart technologies and hep enable consumers to become generators.

The Smart Power Industries Alliance (SPIA), officially launched in Westminster yesterday, consists of network operators, electricity storage and flexibility providers, renewable trade groups, IT firms, tech bodies and National Grid.

It aims to give households, businesses and communities “greater control” over the way they use and consume their energy.

Charles Hendry, SPIA Chair and former Energy and Climate Change Minister told ELN: “The Alliance is bringing together people from right across the energy sector because we recognise the scale of the transition over the next few years is unparalleled in terms of anything we’ve had to address before.

“It’s not just about bringing in new sources of generation which we’ve seen in the past but it’s actually how we empower consumers, how we help them move from being passive consumers to active consumers and in time generators.”

He believes duplication is the biggest risk as the UK moves towards creating a smarter energy system but the Alliance is expected to help make the change “more harmoniously and in a much cheaper way”.

The Alliance is calling on the government to help facilitate the creation of new markets for smart services, take a “whole system approach” to smart energy and make smart power central to the Industrial Strategy.

Speaking at the launch, Energy Minister Richard Harrington said he “really, really believes” in the Alliance and it is a “fantastic thing”.

He added: “The important thing actually is not the merits of just smart meters or not, it’s not whether they save money or not, it’s not whether they’re type SMETS1 or SMETS2 meters. There are a lot of issues to do with that and there are different arguments, they’re all going to be sorted out.

“The fact is 370,000 [smart meters] per month are being installed for people to provide a future for themselves in smart energy, part of the smart grid of the future, part of the way of thinking for the future.”

The development of new smart infrastructure is expected to deliver economic benefits in the UK, with an estimated potential of £13 billion of gross value added and £5 billion of potential exports to 2050 as well as create up to 9,000 jobs over the 2030s.