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Smart Grids - The Wider Picture

John Scott CEng FIET, Member of the IET Energy Policy Panel

Jeff Douglas talks with John Scott about 'Smart Grids - The Wider Picture'

02 November 2011  Power channel

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About the presentation

A Smart Grid will be needed in the UK from around 2020 onwards in order to operate the electricity network in a low carbon energy world in a manner that is secure, cost-effective and able to respond to new demands. In this Wider Picture slide pack words are kept to a minimum in order to maximise its usefulness as a tool for reaching a common understanding of the challenges and goals ahead. John Scott introduces the slides and their implications in discussion with Jeff Douglas.
The proposed levels of intermittent renewable generation and new higher capacity nuclear generation will need to be balanced by developments in demand side participation and energy storage. A smart grid will enable engineers to integrate demand management and distributed generation sources, achieve more efficient utilisation of existing infrastructure and consequently operate this effectively in conjunction with new large scale generation.
But what does this mean in practice? Engineers and policy makers planning for a Smart Grid can often be “divided by a common language�. Even the words Smart and Grid can mean different things to different experts depending on the discipline in which they were originally trained and have experience. The key is to view the entire system as offering a dynamic and flexible solution to addressing some of the most intractable contradictions that exist between the world of yesterday and the needs of tomorrow.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology includes within its membership Professional Engineers in the fields of Energy, Transport, Communications and IT. Experts from these four disciplines are working together to understand what needs to be designed to build a smart grid capable of meeting the challenges of a low carbon future.
This first stage of the IET’s inter-disciplinary work on Smart Grids concentrates primarily on an energy perspective and more specifically the interface between the Grid and the home. A major investment programme is planned for the electricity network in the period up to 2020 and of course the grid can’t be shut down in order to work on it. The electricity network has to be kept running 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year so major upgrading is a bit like re-building a jumbo jet while it is in flight.
The aim of our work is to provide an informed basis for discussion as engineers from all disciplines come together with policy makers and the public to debate the issues and solve the technical and commercial challenges ahead.

IET Smart Grids Key Topics

IET Smart Grid Wider Pictures

About the speaker

John Scott has 40 years of experience in electricity distribution and transmission and is currently an independent consultant. Until recently he was Director, Network Innovation at KEMA Consulting, having previously been the Technical Director for Ofgem, the British gas and electricity regulator. Earlier in his career John was Director of Engineering for National Grid Company in the UK and manager of the National Electricity Control Centre.

His principal area of work concerns electricity grid design, addressing strategic changes for the future that include Smart Grids and their development in Europe, the USA and beyond. In support of real commercial developments, his focus goes beyond technology and includes commercial, regulatory and management aspects of innovation on power networks.

He is a member of the Smart Grid Forum, set up by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change and Ofgem to advise on policy in this area.
John is a Fellow and Board Member of the Institution of Engineering & Technology, (the IET), and a member of the IET Energy Policy Panel. He is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Bath and a Member of the Advisory Board of the UK Energy Research Centre.

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