Smart power alliance chair outlines importance of collaboration

The chair of a new group that wants to accelerate the move to smart power systems says a collaborative approach will be key when it comes to engaging with government.

Smart power alliance chair outlines importance of collaboration

The Smart Power Industries Alliance (SPIA) is a cross-sector alliance of UK energy trade associations, and the system operator National Grid, with the objective of delivering a smart, flexible energy system.

The alliance has called on the government to accelerate the move to smart power systems and wants ministers to create new incentives for the heat, transport and power sectors to work together to deliver decarbonisation.

Speaking to Network at the launch of the group earlier this week, chair Charles Hendry said: “Industry has recognised that there’s a massive revolution that needs to happen with the way in which we generate, distribute and use electricity. This isn’t going to happen by chance, and if it does it will be expensive, haphazard and unstructured. Therefore, what we want to do is try and ensure that we get as much cohesion between government, industry and consumer groups as possible.

“By bringing them together we can ensure that we’re having the right dialogue with government, we can understand where the challenges are and who is responsible for addressing them. It’s the biggest alliance we’ve had across the energy sector and brings in the companies from generation, distribution and demand side response on storage. It’s the most comprehensive approach we’ve had.”

To help advance progress the alliance is calling on governments, present and future, to put into action five key principles at the heart of the UK’s energy policy and to sustain the smart transition over the coming decade and beyond. These are:

1. Put consumers at the heart of energy policy; enable businesses and households to play an active role in the nation’s energy system where they choose to, and ensure that all consumers benefit from the smart transition.

2. Facilitate the creation of new markets for smart services; new markets for smart services must ensure that all participants, including newer innovative, flexible technologies, can compete on fair and equal terms.

3. Take a whole-system approach to smart energy; create incentives for the heat, transport and power sectors to work together to deliver decarbonisation at best value to consumers.

4. Accelerate the smart power transition; provide consistent policy and regulatory direction, in line with the Government’s carbon objectives, to promote investor confidence.

5. Make smart power central to the Industrial Strategy; incentivise key sectors to invest in smart technologies, and maximise the benefits for the economy and for UK Plc in global markets.

According to the former Energy Minister collaboration will be key to ensuring these principles are carried forward.

“Realistically we can’t expect government to respond constructively if they’re getting 100 different messages,” added Mr Hendry. “What they want from the industry is a cohesive set of coherent policy ideas so that they can then respond in the best way to that. That’s why I think it’s important that the industry has come together.”

Organisations involved in the launch include: The Energy Networks Association, The Association for Decentralised Energy, The Renewables Energy Association, Energy UK, RenewableUK, Scottish Renewables, The Solar Trade Association, BEAMA, SmarterUK, The Electricity Storage Network and National Grid.


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