UK policy needs to promote smart grids and embrace renewable energy projects more
As three of Britain’s largest energy companies, British Gas, Npower and Scottish Power, announced rises in gas and electricity prices – expected to add between £80 and £110 to the typical annual household bill – the focus on sustainability and the smarter use of energy has once again been thrust into the public domain.
If the Government is to meet the 2020 emissions targets and tackle the population’s increasing discord with energy prices, the economic benefits of smart grids – to individual households – as well as the ecological benefits of greater plurality within the energy markets needs to be championed more.
Speaking at the first global Ecoisland Summit on the Isle of Wight earlier this week, the UK Minister for Energy John Hayes said; “the island’s plans to deploy smart grid technologies and locally-owned renewables projects provided a template that should be replicated across UK, and around the world.”
As more renewables come on grid the Government must show more commitment to removing barriers to entry into the energy market for new operators and individual schemes. If more plurality with in the energy markets can be delivered, it stands to not only benefit the environment (as the Isle of Wight Ecoisland scheme is beginning to show), but also the consumer.
The Minister added; “we need to drive smart grids to get more out of our energy assets in an intelligent way, thus ensuring consumers pay less. Too much of the debate has traditionally been focused on generation and not consumption – we must think more about demand management.”