“Fourth industrial revolution” shaping the energy grid

South Australian Treasurer and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis.

South Australian Treasurer and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis.

South Australian Treasurer and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis has told energy policy makers and practitioners at Energy Networks 2016 to “adapt, change, evolve”.

Responding to the Minister’s call, energy executives highlighted the work that is being done to adapt to a cleaner energy future.

UK Power Networks CEO and former chief executive of ETSA Utilities Basil Scarsella highlighted the need for the energy grid to change its delivery systems to support local energy and microgrids – “community solutions”.

Mr Scarsella highlighted the importance of recent regulatory reforms in the United Kingdom to encourage more innovation and better customer services.

He said incentive frameworks had been introduced so that regulated energy businesses lose or gain revenue depending on how well they performed for customers.

The introduction of a Low Carbon Innovation Fund had also been instrumental in promoting experimentation and innovation in smart grid services, supporting cleaner technologies.

Scarsella said a “fourth industrial revolution” was establishing a “cyber-physical system” providing increased capability for the two-way exchange of services for customers.

Energy Networks Association CEO John Bradley told delegates the Australian energy system was in an ‘egg and spoon’ race on behalf of energy consumers.

“We must execute a rapid transformation in the energy system without compromising the delicate balance of affordability, sustainability and reliability,” said Mr Bradley.

“Most customers would be unaware the energy grid was built for a passive one-way flow of electricity, but today needs to be a dynamic, actively managed smart grid to support a cleaner, distributed energy future.

“Energy networks can’t ‘command and control’ our way through the energy transformation, but we can ensure the right incentives are sent to market decision makers.”

Mr Bradley said the conference and exhibition is demonstrating what networks are doing on a day-to-day basis, in partnership with new market participants, to transition to a cleaner energy future and deliver greater choice and control to customers.

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