Information and communication technologies vital for smart grid


Klaus Schwab,
Founder & Executive
Chairman, World
Economic Forum
Geneva, Switzerland — (METERING.COM) — October 15, 2009 – Information and communication technologies (ICT) are a key enabler for the smart grid and other transformation in the energy sector in the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy, according to a new study from the World Economic Forum.

The study, which covers the energy, automotive and transportation, and health sectors, says that smart services and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications enable businesses to save energy, water and natural resources, create efficiencies and boost revenues, as well as deliver solutions that can improve quality of life while reducing carbon emissions.

As society progresses to a sustainable and low carbon future, investment must be first made to the existing power grid infrastructure. Highly flexible and adaptive, the ICT-enabled smart grid generates new business models, new energy management services, new tariff structures and new ways to engage and collaborate with consumers

Across the sectors the potential benefits of accelerating the evolution towards a networked society are very major and the opportunity costs of procrastination equally high. Achieving desired long term outcomes and benefits across multiple industries will require pragmatic policy and regulatory structures with incentives for competition, innovation and sustained investment.

Failure to fully leverage a ubiquitous, reliable and standards-based ICT infrastructure will reduce opportunities for multiple industries to create new products and services, to strengthen relationships with end-users and to support sustainable, low carbon global economic growth.

To create an environment for transformation, reinvigorated levels of public-private collaboration will be required across businesses, governments and civil society organizations. Policy makers and leaders will have roles to play at multiple levels to ensure robust competition, sustained investment, innovation and positive societal contribution.

“A key element in the transition to low-carbon prosperity will be ICT’s global scale and its ability to create affordable and inclusive solutions,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. “Frameworks which support the advancement of global and interoperable network-based solutions will be vital for addressing the world’s toughest economic, social and environmental challenges.”