UK Government releases paper looking “Towards a Smart Energy System”

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has released a paper that gives a helpful summary of how DECC will work with other stakeholders to help the country move towards a smarter energy system, including next steps planned for 2016. Read more of this post


Deployment of 33,000 LED streetlights is underway in Doncaster, as part of Doncaster Council’s Smartlight project. The streetlights are being installed and managed by Telensa, a firm providing end-to-end smart city solutions using low-power and low-cost wireless technology. Existing streetlights will be replaced by wireless LED luminaires from Urbis Schréder. The system will consist of telecells plugged into each streetlight, connecting wirelessly to a cloud-based control application, via infrequent streetlight-mounted base units.

Flexible and adaptable lighting levels will be monitored to ensure that they are set appropriately and adequately for both the time of night and the area. Power consumption will be accurately recorded for each streetlight, ensuring that the Council only pays for actual energy consumed. Both of these factors together are predicted to cut to the Council’s lighting energy bill by half, delivering £1.3m in savings annually. It will also reduce energy consumption by 8.7m kW hours and carbon emissions by 4700 carbon tonnes. Streetlight delivery can be centrally evolved over the whole of their 25 year life expectancy.

Doncaster is not the only city to be deploying an LED streetlight initiative. Many County Councils across the UK have already started to replace old street lights with new LED lights, not only to save costs but also to decrease light pollution and carbon emissions. Nottingham County Council are replacing all low pressure sodium lanterns with LED lanterns over a four year period, decreasing running costs by 60%. Plymouth City Council are investing £8 million in replacing all of their street lights with LED lights, in expectation of achieving a 70% reduction in energy use and carbon emissions. Herefordshire Council are in the final stages of converting their 9000 streetlights to LED lights, expected to save £13 million in energy and maintenance costs over 20 years.

Establishing this wireless network will also help to future-proof the city. The Telensa wireless network will allow for fast and cost-effective addition of other IoT applications in the future. For example, the streetlights could be used as a communications hub for traffic and air quality measurement sensors, or for control applications for smart parking. Wireless networks such as this will be central to the establishment and functioning of Smart Grids.

DECC 4th Annual Report on Smart Meters

The Government has published its 4th annual progress report on the roll-out of smart meters in Great Britain. The Government has a stated aim to ensure that all homes and businesses in Great Britain are offered a smart meter by 2020. Read more of this post

Is everyone getting Smart to Smart Cities?

  1. Smart Cities and Horizon 2020?

Smart cities are high on the agenda for the Europe 2020 Initiative which proposes the use of digital and telecommunication technologies within smart cities to increase sustainability and decrease environmental impact. This will in turn provide better public services, better use of resources and increased efficiencies through the use of alternative networks and supplies of electricity, heating, water etc. Our cities will become more interactive and responsive, and (in theory) more efficient as a result. Read more of this post

Smart Grids Market Summary – France

Bird & Bird continues its series of smart grids market summaries, this time focusing on France. The summary looks at:

  • The market today: including plans to replace 35 million traditional electricity meters with smart meters over the next 6 years.
  • Looking ahead: including plans to reform current regulations and develop a skilled labour pool to aid the development of smart grids.
  • What to watch: including aiming to create 10,000 new jobs in the smart grids sector by 2020.

Smart Grids Market Summary_France_06.15_V4

Capacity market: Fossil fuels favoured over renewables?

In December 2014 it was announced that, through the Capacity Market auction, generators are to receive almost £1 billion towards securing generation capacity in future years in order to safeguard that there will be sufficient generation to meet demand at peak times. The Capacity Market has been introduced as one of a number of measures under Electricity Market Reform which aims to combat concerns over security of supply, while also securing affordable energy and enabling the transition to a lower carbon economy. However, this month the Energy and Climate Change committee (ECC) issued a report which argues that the Capacity Market favours fossil fuels rather than renewables. Read more of this post

Government Announces Outcome of First CfD Auction

The UK government has announced that it will hand out £315 million to 27 renewable energy projects as a result of its first competitive auction for “Contracts for Difference” (CfD). The contract awards could result in more than 2GW of new capacity, with the Government further stating that funding for CfDs could rise to over £1 billion per year by 2020/21.


The majority of the 2GW of new capacity to be funded through the first auction round was awarded to two offshore wind projects totalling 1.1GW in capacity. In addition, 15 onshore wind projects and 5 solar projects will receive funding contracts. According to the Government, the auction process means that the investment will cost the consumer £110 million less than it would have without competition. Read more of this post

German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy publishes key points for several new ordinances on smart meters

A new article relating to the above has been posted on the German Energy Blog – click here for more information

Smart Grids Market Summary – Sweden

Bird & Bird have published a further summary in its series on smart grids. This summary focuses upon:

  • The market today: including the establishment of a Coordination Council for Smart Grids and the almost complete installation of smart meters in Swedish households.
  • What to watch: including an electricity market in transformation and the development of a political framework for smart grids.
  • Looking ahead: including infrastructure development and the Coordination Council’s report.

Smart Grids Market Summary – Sweden

German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy publishes a new support programme “Showcase Smart Energy – Digital Agenda for the Energy Transition”

A new article relating to the above has been posted on the German Energy Blog – click here for more information.

Low Carbon London Reports Published

After several years’ work, the Low Carbon London project (the Project) led by UK Power Network’s (UKPN) has published its reports.

The £28.3 million Project involved UKPN working with 11 project partners and was funded through Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund together with £6.6 million from UKPN and other sources. Focusing on trailing and demonstrating a wide range of potential smart approaches in the Greater London area, the Project has generated a large store of data and knowledge that will be of immense interest to those involved in smart grids and which should especially hold valuable learnings for other urban areas. Read more of this post

Smart Grids Market Summary – The Netherlands

Bird & Bird have published a new market summary in its ongoing series. This summary focuses upon:

  • The market today: the development and implementation of Smarter Grids, including 31 ongoing smart grid projects.
  • What to watch: including reducing CO2 emissions and the roll-out of smart meters.
  • The long-term picture: including developing one integrated smart grid by 2030.

Smart Grids Market Summary – The Netherlands

Government releases report on Internet of Things, highlights energy as a key sector

On 18 December 2014 the UK Government released the much anticipated review by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser into how the UK can exploit the potential of the “Internet of Things” (the Review). Energy was one of 5 key sectors highlighted in the Review as well as by the Prime Minister in his foreword to it. The Review recommends 10 actions for government to maximise the opportunities and reduce the risks of these new technologies which will be of interest to those following Smart Grids in the UK. Read more of this post

Article by Adam Gillert published on LexisNexis’ World of IP and IT Law

An article by Bird & Bird Senior Associate Adam Gillert focusing on smart grids in Britain has been published on LexisNexis’ World of IP and IT Law (WIPIT) blog. WIPIT is a blog for curious intellectual property and information technology lawyers with a nose for business, innovation and technology. Adam’s article gives a general introduction to smart grids including many of the benefits, opportunities and challenges they present. To read the article, please click here.

The Future of the Supply/Demand Interface in Electricity Distribution

On 12th November 2014, Bird & Bird in collaboration with SmartGrid GB will be hosting an all-day conference at the British Library which aims to explore how the generation and supply side of the energy industry can utilise technologies and data streams to maximise efficiency in operation. The projected transformation of energy markets and the management of systems using machine to machine control is a revolutionary change that industry will face in the near future. The role of distributed generation, storage and new forms of generation will require solutions to allow the most efficient use of assets. Read more of this post

Smart Grid Market Summary – Spain

Bird & Bird have published a further market summary in its new series. This summary focuses upon:

  • The market today: including plans for the development and implementation of Smarter Grids.
  • What to watch: including anticipated investment in Smart Grids in Spain over the next decade.
  • The long-term picture: including the projected timeline for the installation of Smart Meters.

Click here to view

UK Government publishes further details of EMR

The Energy Act 2013 and its Energy Market Reform (EMR) is likely to have a major impact on the energy sector and smart grids, including as a result of the introduction of Contracts for Difference and a new Capacity Market. Previous articles provide a short summary of EMR as first proposed and Bird & Bird has continued to follow developments in this space since the Energy Bill was first published back in 2012.  Read more of this post

2014 Annual Report on DECC/Ofgem Smart Grid Forum released

DECC and Ofgem have published the latest Annual Report on the progress of the Smart Grid Forum (SGF). The SGF was established by Ofgem and DECC in 2011.  It brings together key opinion formers, experts and stakeholders involved in the development of GB smart grids.  Bird & Bird were recently invited to join the SGF’s Work Stream 6, which is focused on overcoming commercial and regulatory barriers.

The annual report states the SGF can celebrate another productive year with significant progress and delivery. Examples of recent progress cited in the report include:

The report also gives a short summary of each key Work Stream and of forthcoming work.

JRC publish updated inventory of smart grid and metering projects in Europe

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre has published an updated inventory of smart grid and metering projects in Europe for 2014.

The inventory identifies 459 projects launched from 2002 onwards, amounting to over €3 billion in investments. Interactive visualisation tools allow users to generate customised graphs, charts and maps.

The JRC have also published a 153 page report, which addresses topics such as:

  • an overview of projects in Europe (including project maturity, scale, geographical distribution and budget range)
  • sources of funding
  • details of who is investing and of multinational collaboration
  • projects started in 2013-2014
  • progress of smart meter deployment
  • insight into smart customer projects.

The inventory and associated report are sure to prove a useful resource for those interested in smart grid projects in EU states (plus Switzerland and Norway). For example, the report shows that 42 smart grid projects started in 2013 with a total investment of around €415 million.

For further detail see Smart Grid Projects Outlook 2014. Readers may also be interested in Bird & Bird’s on-going series of EU and other smart grid market summaries.

Bird & Bird and Cambridge Alumni Energy Society host event on smart energy systems

On 22 May, Bird & Bird hosted an event together with the Cambridge Alumni Energy Society which aimed to explore and discuss the practicalities and challenges of implementing smart energy systems.

The discussion started off with a presentation from Phil Lawton, Future System Operations Manager at National Grid who provided an introduction to National Grid’s role in system balancing and the challenges of the changing energy landscape. In particular, National Grid is working with stakeholders across the energy value chain to identify cost effective and robust solutions. Specific issues included: Read more of this post