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GE, Whirlpool Corporation and a number of other companies on October 20 announced the creation of a new collaborative effort aimed at demonstrating the role of smart grid technologies and practices in the achievement of climate change goals. Called the Smart Green Grid Initiative (SGGI), the effort will include educational events at the upcoming climate change meetings in Copenhagen. SGGI has been approved by the United Nations to be an official smart grid delegation to the Copenhagen meetings. SGGI will also be sponsoring educational events in the U.S. in the weeks preceding the meetings in Copenhagen.
One of the groups that SGGI will work with in Copenhagen is the Pew Center Global Climate Change. "It is important that we look at all of the options that can help address and mitigate climate change," said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change "and smart grid's role in enabling energy efficiency and other climate-friendly technologies deserves greater attention. We look forward to participating in an SGGI side event in Copenhagen that will help carry this message to the broader climate change community."
"We need to help the world understand the real potential for Smart Grid technologies to help slow climate change," said Bob Gilligan, vice president of GE Energy's Transmission and Distribution business. "Smart Grid solutions are often viewed primarily for their efficiency and cost savings, but every kilowatt saved is also a carbon savings. Add the potential carbon benefits we get through easier integration of more renewable energy, like wind and solar, and the Smart Grid can have a major effect on the carbon impact of our energy infrastructure."
"We launch this effort today to try to illustrate the relationship between a smart grid with smart products and technologies, and the global effort to mitigate climate change," said Jeff Noel, corporate vice president, Communications and Public Affairs, Whirlpool Corporation. "Complementary policies in these areas benefit consumers, create jobs, and reduce environmental impact. Today, these two areas are for the most part in different silos, and there is not enough awareness or understanding of how important development of the smart grid can be to meeting climate change goals."
SGGI will seek to help government, industry and policy makers see smart grid technologies and practices within a larger perspective. For example, with a key component of climate change policies being increased use of renewable energy, SGGI will try to help parties understand and manage its variable and intermittent nature. It will try to demonstrate that demand response and energy storage solutions can dynamically complement renewable resources – and avoid the building of new fossil-fuel power plants to fill the availability gaps and peak needs.
"Another important area is energy efficiency," said Dan Delurey, chairman of the Smart Green Grid Initiative. "Today, it is important to view energy efficiency in a more holistic and dynamic way than in the past. New technologies and applications mean that energy efficiency can mean more than just replacing one device with a newer, more efficient one. It can include providing new information to the consumer that they have simply never had before. Research has shown that electricity customers with energy usage information become more energy efficient overall – by upwards of 15%. The Smart Grid may help make energy efficiency sustainable and institutionalized in business and society."
"This is also true with appliances," said Noel, of Whirlpool, and "we need to not only make our appliances more efficient, but smarter."
Jim Campbell, president and CEO of GE Consumer & Industrial, the GE division innovating demand response appliances, added "Smart appliances connected to the grid can schedule energy intensive activities to take place during lower energy usage periods like evenings and nights, when some renewable resources like wind are more likely to be available."
Supporters of the Smart Green Grid Initiative include both Utilities and Technology companies. Included in the group are National Grid, Southern Company, AEP, Google, LG Electronics, Landis + Gyr, Echelon, Tendril, Ice Energy, Enspiria, eMeter and Itron. In addition, the Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition and the Demand Response Coordinating Committee, the leading groups in the U.S. focused on promoting the development of the Smart Grid and smart grid practices like Demand Response, will be supporting SGGI.
As part of today's announcement, the Smart Green Grid Initiative said that several webinars and a Capitol Hill Briefing will be held to begin the effort to build awareness of the important intersection between the smart grid and climate change. SGGI also said that a web site has been created at www.smartgreengrid.org where information can be found about SGGI events as well as how the Smart Grid can play a role in addressing climate change.
"We hope that other companies will join with us now and in Copenhagen in this effort to demonstrate the importance of the Smart Grid in reducing emissions and achieving climate change goals," said Delurey. "We look forward to working with all parties and to being a source of information and expertise on the role that Smart Grid can play."