GSGF Board of Directors meeting: SGF’s report from Washington

On June 3rd GSGF, the Global Smart Grid Federation, held its half-yearly Board of Directors meeting in Washington. The meeting was followed by a number of presentations by energy professionals from the US. “That was interesting,” reflects Heidi Lenaerts, managing director of Smart Grids Flanders: “The American energy market is very complex. And it’s striking that an American family with two children consumes three and a half times as much electricity as a Belgian one.”
Smart Grids Flanders has been a member of GSGF, the federation that brings together Smart Grid initiatives from around the world, since November 2012. Heidi Lenaerts attended the half-yearly Board of Directors meeting in Washington on June 3rd. Lenaerts: “Most European countries had one representative at the meeting, but Japan participated with a delegation of seven. They were also attending the Conference on Energy Storage that was held at the same hotel the next day.”
“White papers will be available soon”
Lenaerts: “At the Board of Directors meeting all three working groups of GSGF – Grid Connectivity of Distributed Generation (with chairman Robert Wilhite III, Gridwise Alliance), Interfaces of Grid Users (with chairman Hiroshi Kuniyoshi, Japan Smart Community Alliance) and Interoperability (with chairman Per-Olof Granström, EDSO for Smart Grids) – announced they are working on a white paper to communicate their results. As soon as these papers are available, we will bring them to our members’ attention.” In the afternoon there were presentations by energy professionals from the US.

“There are 5 segments of American energy consumers”
Lenaerts: “Patty Durand of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) explained that her organization distinguishes 5 consumer segments: Easy Street – the 20% of the population who doesn’t really feel the electricity cost weigh on their budget; DIY & Save – the 16% who’s interested in energy efficiency and Smart Grid programs because they help save money; Concerned Greens – the 31% that wants to help protect the environment; Young America – the 23% that needs to have the benefits of Smart Grids explained to them and Traditionals – the 11% who remains sceptic. SGCC sends consumer-centric messages to each of these 5 segments and proactively addresses the consumers’ typical concerns. With this differentiated communication strategy SGCC managed to raise smart grid favorability by 10 to 15%. I believe something similar should be possible in Flanders.”

”An American family with 2 children consumes 1000 kWh/month”
Lenaerts: “Erik Lightner of the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) gave a very interesting presentation. Apparently, energy laws and regulations can get very complicated in the US, when federal and state legislation interact. In 2009 the OE received 4,5 billion dollar of president Obama (Recovery Act Fund) to modernize the electricity grid and implement the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. A large part of the fund was spent on 99 Smart Grid Investment Grants (SGIG – 3,4 billion). These resulted a.o. in the implementation of 15,5 million smart meters, 7500 automated feeder switches and 18 500 automated capacitors. These are dazzling numbers. Of course the scale for investments in the US is huge. The same holds true for electricity consumption. An American family with 2 kids consumes 1000 kWh/month – that is three and a half times as much as its Belgian counterpart.”

Interested in the full presentation(s) of this meeting? Please contact Natacha De Brauwer