Smart grid means redesigning the current energy supply model, but changing and upgrading physical infrastructure alone will not be sufficient. It will require a radical overhaul of existing commercial structures, new set of regulation and market mechanisms and a full shift in the consumer behaviour.
As we evolve such models, the principles that have guided the industry for nearly 100 years will become obsolete; today’s centralized network needs to become an agile and adaptable web of interactions which will be highly responsive to fluctuations in availability and demand. Only when the consumer, supplier and power plants are engaged in a real time dialogue, and where fluctuating power availability is able to influence when and how electricity is used and when its excess can be stored, dramatically improving efficiency and overproduction and fully harnessing renewables, will we realise the full potential of smart grid.
For this to happen, we do not only need cutting-edge technology, but also to rethink the existing commercial and regulatory relationships between all parties – electricity networks & suppliers, technology providers & new entrants, and crucially the consumer.
Moderator: Stephen Woodhouse, Director, Pöyry Management Consulting, UK