Smart grid underpins energy revolution necessary to meet Europe’s 2050 low carbon economy vision


Bastian Fischer,
VP Industry Strategy,
Oracle Utilities
Reading, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — November 10, 2011 – The 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, according to a new report from Oracle.

Further, electric vehicles will act as a major catalyst, encouraging the necessary investment in energy technologies and infrastructure. Recharging services will heighten public awareness of their energy consumption, too.

The report, Future of Energy, which was prepared with the future trends consultancy, The Future Laboratory, is aimed to look 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.

Against the background of these targets demand for energy continues to rise unabated. And it does so against challenges including the long term environmental sustainability of fossil fuels, vulnerabilities in the energy supply chain and volatility in energy markets.

The report identifies a number of key technology areas that will play a critical role in meeting the rise in electricity demand. These include providing reliable electricity supplies, especially as economies move to an even greater dependence on digital technology, using advanced demand side management tools to encourage load shifting away from periods of peak demand, and implementing smart information systems able to respond in near real time to enable dynamic pricing, providing customers with real time differentiated electricity prices.

In addition, consumer data and dynamic energy rates that are readily available will encourage the development of new business models, fostering competition and altering the competitive landscape.

According to the report, the complexity and cost associated with the deployment of the smart grid means that market forces alone are insufficient to drive the necessary investment. Governments must take the lead, putting in place the appropriate policy and regulatory framework and ensuring the costs and benefits of investment are aligned.

The development of successful large scale pilot projects is also an important element in gaining the support of smart grid developments. Such schemes are also vital in developing robust business models that are adapted to the circumstances of individual markets.

Finally, the need for public awareness and support is vital if the necessary changes to energy use and consumption are to be achieved. Greater efforts are required to educate the public of the long-term benefits enabled by a smart energy infrastructure.

“The smart grid is crucial for a smart energy future and to meet 2050 energy efficiency targets,” said Bastian Fischer, VP Industry Strategy at Oracle Utilities. “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.”

The study was based on input from a panel of experts from Europe, Middle East and, who were charged to consider how the 2050 carbon emission targets could be met through commercial investment, consumer engagement and political leadership, as well as the role of technology towards a smart energy future.