Last week, EcoConnect held its first smart grid event in over a year – Smart Grid: The Next Generation.

Hosted by Bird & Bird, industry experts gathered to discuss how things had moved on in the last 18 months and whether we are any closer to reaching smart grid objectives.

There were a few reoccurring themes from previous smart grid events – such as the lack of smart grid PR and communications and the challenge this poses. Indeed conference moderator Ronald Hendrikx opened the session by observing how back in 2009 when EcoConnect first examined smart grid evolution, it was only just starting to impact on public awareness. He then added that the topic was still just starting to impact on public awareness.

Another interesting point raised in the opening session was that of ‘wise investment’. David Healey, Head of Smart Grid for EMEA at Wipro Technologies, argued that while the UK currently has a unique opportunity to develop an infrastructure that could provide a model for other countries, it all hinges on money. He pointed out that vast sums have already been poured into smart grid projects but unless we follow these developments through with the necessary levels of investment, there remains a huge risk of stranded assets. In other words, it’s like having a power plant without a transmission network!

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