GE, Whirlpool and Others Launch Smart Green Grid Initiative Aimed at Including Smart Grid in Copenhagen Meetings

October 22, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

GE, Whirlpool Corp. and a number of other companies 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 Corp.. "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."

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.