Week in smart metering - Planning a secure future in an insecure present

Planning for the energy future needs targets to be known, writes Claire Volkwyn, editor, Metering & Smart Energy International.
Published: Wed 05 Oct 2016

Patrick Clerens, Secretary General of the European Association for Storage of Energy, wrote an opinion piece recently which mentioned the fact that there appears to be a lack of consensus around what the European new energy future looks like. 

Clerens says: "In Europe, the prevailing view is that a new energy future would involve more renewable generation with all the CO2 reductions such technologies entail. However there are diverging views even here. You only need to look at the national energy mixes of Poland, and France – the former is reliant on coal and the latter dependant on its nuclear fleet – to see that national interests will also play a role in forming opinion and expectations around the precise shape of energy things to come.”

While broadly, the European Union has defined targets to be achieved, Clemens believes that once the targets have been defined, "crucially this brings the industry something even more important than consensus around technologies – it brings planning security."

It also presents an interesting dilemma for an industry that has, by necessity, been tightly defined, where process, procedure and planning are important to assure reliability. Not knowing what the energy future looks like makes it hard to adapt and plan. But it allows for innovation, thinking out of the box and giant leaps in technology.

To my mind, Clerens’ most important point is this: "Even in a situation of divergent viewpoints on which technology or application will see us into the brave new energy world, as long as we know what our targets are, be it CO2 reduction, for example, or the proportion of renewables in the overall energy mix, if the targets are known, you can plan accordingly.

"It’s actually a case of the ends not just justifying the means, but defining them."

More from Metering & Smart Energy International

New regulations in Germany are expected to spur growth in the deployment of smart grid infrastructure in the country’s power sector. [Germany to invest $23.6bn in smart grid by 2026]. According to a new report compiled by the Northeast Group, Germany has lagged behind its neighbors in deploying smart grid infrastructure, despite representing the “largest market in Europe.”

A report states that the UK government must consider how to communicate “the level of thought that has gone into designing a secure system for smart metering.” [UK gov advised to communicate security of smart meter design]. The report, compiled by the UK government Science and Technology Committee released last week, commented on the number of ‘unwarranted concerns’ being reported in the media around smart meter security, warning that this could reduce trust in the smart metering programme.

ESMIG released a statement regarding the potential impact of BREXIT on the organisation. According to ESMIG President, Maher Chebbo, “As you well know, the historical decision of the UK to leave the European Union has stirred many discussions and raised many question marks on what will change and what will stay the same in all aspects of the European Union organisation and policies. [BREXIT’s impact on ESMIG]. “First of all, it is important to say that once the UK evokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty (to leave the European Union), there will be a two-year period to negotiate the “divorce”. From the first news and statements it seems that there is no hurry in calling on this clause."

A new study has been launched to assess the commercial feasibility of deploying vehicle-to-grid infrastructure in London. [New study evaluates feasibility of V2G in London]. The research scheme is being led by UK construction and civil engineering company Costain in partnership with Innovate UK and non-profit clean vehicle consultancy Cenex.

A slightly different story for today is coming out of the Paris Motor Show, in which the big shift has been the number of electric vehicles available. [The electric vehicle: highlight of the Paris Motor Show]. According to media reports, Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands will launch more than 10 electric cars by 2025 and announced the launch of the EQ concept, an electric SUV which will be available from 2019.

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