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.

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.

European IPR Helpdesk publishes Horizon 2020 fact sheet: IP Management at the Grant Preparation Stage

The European IPR Helpdesk has published a further fact sheet on intellectual property (“IP”) management for Horizon 2020 projects.

Horizon 2020 is an EU Research and Innovation programme with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (from 2014 to 2020). It has been set up to facilitate research moving more quickly to market and strengthen Europe’s economic competiveness. Much of the funding will be available to those working in areas related to smart grids. Further background on Horizon 2020 is available here. Read more of this post

Bird & Bird’s Ronald Hendrikx joins Westminster eForum to discuss challenges for intelligent infrastructure

Ronald Hendrikx

Ronald Hendrikx is a partner in our commercial group.

The Westminster eForum today held a Keynote Seminar on Smart Living. The meeting heard the thoughts of political and industry leaders on a variety of topics including the smart home opportunity, the potential for smart meters to play a role in building a more connected home and the related topics of smart cities and connected cars.

Key messages from the meeting highlighted the need to provide solutions that are simple, flexible, reliable, trusted and fulfil basic needs. A representative of a major utility outlined the benefits they had seen in consumer uptake of smart services from using a dedicated, focused awareness campaign around smart meters.  Other speakers suggested that smart meters may become the central hub of a smart home, but that industry and regulators need to take note of the security aspects of the meters and the translation of meter data into information that consumers understand and can react to. Read more of this post

Smart Grid Market Summary – European Union

Bird & Bird have published the second in a new series of market summaries focused on the EU.

This summary focuses upon:

  • The market today: including drivers of the EU’s commitment to smart grids.
  • What to watch: including an overview of smart grid projects within the EU.
  • The long-term picture: including the continued importance of policy choices by individual member states.

Click here to view – Smart Grid EU Summary

Bird & Bird advises the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change on national roll out of smart gas and electricity meters

Bird & Bird is pleased to announce that it has been advising the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on the procurement of a series of major contracts on behalf of industry worth £2.2bn as part of DECC’s Smart Metering Implementation Programme.

Providing for the roll out of 53m gas and electricity smart meters to homes and small businesses across Great Britain, the Smart Metering Implementation Programme is the most significant change in the British energy market since the conversion to North Sea gas in the 1970s. Most households in Britain will have smart meters installed by 2020.

Read more of this post

Industry report warns Government on Capacity Market Reforms: pace of design risks damaging future demand side response industry

A new industry report, published today, urges Government to give more time and consideration to the design schedule for the DSR aspects of the Capacity Market or risk negatively affecting a potentially vibrant DSR market in Britain.

The report, written by SmartGrid GB with the assistance of international law firm, Bird & Bird, represents an industry response to a key aspect of the proposals for the design of the new Capacity Market as published in the Government’s Energy Bill.

Read more of this post

FSR Energy Encyclopaedia published

The Florence School of Regulation (FSR) unveiled an online Energy Encyclopaedia this week.  The Encyclopaedia has over 50 entries covering the following topics:

  • Electricity;
  • Gas;
  • Grids;
  • Energy Policy;
  • Climate Change;
  • Security of Supply;
  • Renewables; and
  • Regulation.

We believe that our readers, including those who may have a limited background in energy regulation, will find this an excellent source of useful and high quality information.

Article by Laura Holt on intellectual property and smart grids published in Utility Week

Laura Holt is an associate in Bird & Bird's  Intellectual Property Group where she focuses on providing both contentious and non-contentious advice on technology matters.

Laura Holt is an associate in Bird & Bird’s Intellectual Property Group where she focuses on providing both contentious and non-contentious advice on technology matters.

Laura cautions that companies developing smart grids must be smart in their approach to managing intellectual property risks.

Click here to view the article.

Article by Adam Gillert on “Smart grids, dumb risks” published in Utility Week

Adam Gillert is an associate in Bird & Bird’s Commercial Group and has worked across a range of projects in regulated sectors.

Adam Gillert warns that whilst much effort is focused on “smart” threats to smarter grids,
energy companies need to remain focused on much more  mundane risks.

Click here to view the article.

Bird & Bird attend major Smart Grid Conference in London

Yesterday, Smart Grid GB, Intellect, ENA, BEAMA and Energy UK held an all-day conference to discuss how to seize the opportunities presented by smart grids. Read more of this post

CEN, CENELEC and ETSI reports on smart grid standards development

The three European Standards Organisations (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) have published reports in conjunction with the European Conference on Smart Grid Standardization Achievements on 28 January 2013 at which they presented the latest results of their joint work on development of smart grid and smart meter standards. Read more of this post

IEEE announces Smart Grid TAG and new smart grid standards

IEEE has formed a new IEEE 802.24 Smart Grid Technical Advisory Group (the “Smart Grid TAG”).  IEEE also announced new smart grid related wireless communications technology standards along with a new standards development project. Read more of this post

Commission publishes a communication and consultation on internal energy market

On 15 November 2012, the European Commission presented a Communication on the current state of the EU internal energy market. European Heads of State set 2014 as the deadline for completion of the internal energy market and the Commission accepts that “the EU is not on track to meet this deadline”.

The Communication re-emphasises the importance of flexible, integrated, competitive, efficient and fluid European energy markets and sets out ways to achieve this as soon as possible. The Commission stresses that investment in generation, transmission, distribution infrastructure and storage is urgently needed but that “modernisation” of the EU grid would cost an estimated €1 trillion. Read more of this post

SMETS 2 consultation closed

The consultation published by DECC on the second version of the Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications (SMETS 2) closed on 8 October 2012

Read more of this post

IEEE-SA updates four standards and launches standards development project for communications and operational capabilities for smart grids

On 26 September 2012, the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) announced updates of smart grid related standards for:

  • electric power systems communications;
  • electric power distribution reliability indices;
  • utility industry metering communication protocol application layers; and
  • automatic reclosing of circuit breakers for distribution and transmission lines.

The IEEE-SA has also announced a further standards development project.

Read more of this post

Government consults on new GB Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications

The initial version of the Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications (SMETS 1) was published in April 2012.  Its aim was to establish specifications to ensure that a minimum set of functions could be performed consistently by smart meters installed before a new centralised Data and Communications Company starts providing core communications services (the Foundation Stage). 

The SMETS 2 consultation seeks views on additional functions and features that the government has proposed to introduce through SMETS 2 and the broader regulatory framework.  SMETS 2 will apply to meters installed after the Foundation Stage.

The consultation is extremely wide ranging.  Amongst other things, the SMETS 2 consultation contains proposals relating to the Home Area Networking solution, the communications hub requirements and responsibilities, equipment assurance, governance and operation, and additional capabilities relating to possible future smart grid developments.

Source: SMETS 2 consultation

IEEE-SA and CIGRE to co-operate on smart grid standards

 The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) has announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the International Council on Large Electric Systems (CIGRE).  

The IEEE-SA is a leader in power and energy standards (with a large number of standards or standards in development relating to smart grids), whilst CIGRE is an international association for promoting collaboration among experts to improve existing and develop future electrical power systems.

According to the information released by IEEE-SA, the MoU is intended to promote knowledge sharing and co-operation.

Source: IEEE-SA press release