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

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

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

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

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

DECC releases a consultation on proposed modifications to the Balancing and Settlement Code (BSC)

On 9 April 2014 DECC released a consultation on proposed modifications to the Balancing and Settlement Code (BSC) required as a result of the implementation of Electricity Market Reform (EMR). EMR is designed to provide the framework for the UK energy industry to meet the challenge of maintaining security of supply in the face of increasing demand for electricity while also moving towards low carbon and sustainable generation. Read more of this post

Electricity Settlement Reform – moving to half-hourly settlement

Ofgem recently released a launch statement for electricity settlement reform as part of the Smarter Markets Programme. Electricity settlement is the process to incentivise suppliers and generators to match the amount of energy they buy with the amount used by their customers. Settlement is carried out by monitoring and metering consumers’ energy use as against generators and suppliers (and interconnectors) contracted positions and determining the charges to be paid for any imbalance. At present, a majority of consumers are settled through a process that lasts 14 months, based on estimates of their usage, as most meters are not capable of measuring half hourly energy consumption. However, with the advent of smart metering, consumers will be able to record their half-hourly (HH) consumption, based on the energy they have actually used, rather than relying on estimates. Ofgem now wants to propose the settlement system for this new data as it becomes available. Read more of this post

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

Smart Grid Forum publishes its vision and routemap

The Smart Grid Forum has this week published its Vision and Routemap (“Routemap”) which outlines progress made to date and identifies actions required to realise the potential of smart grids. The Routemap praises the UK’s progress in supporting smart grid trials through the £500 million Low Carbon Network Fund and reflects on the implications of future developments in smart grids for the UK energy system as a whole. Click here to read more on the Smart Grid Forum’s priorities for realising the potential of smart grids in the UK. Read more of this post

Registration Deadline Approaches for £11m Smart Grid Funding Competition

There is just one week left to register for an £11m funding competition for smart grid development. The Technology Strategy Board (TSB), a UK public body primarily accountable to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, launched the funding competition in January to encourage the development of smart grids.  Read more of this post

EU Parliament adopts Resolution on Local and Regional Consequences of Smart Grids and calls for a high standard of data protection and data privacy

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

DECC publishes Community Energy Strategy

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (“DECC“) today published a strategy paper focusing on the role that communities can play in helping to meet the UK’s energy and climate change challenges (the “Strategy“).  Recognising that much of DECC’s focus has been helping to deliver large national infrastructure projects, the Strategy acknowledges the importance of community led action and the role it can play in helping to tackle difficult energy issues, including the development of smart grids.

The Strategy focuses on a wide variety of community activities, including so called “D3” (demand reduction, demand side response and distributed generation) and includes examples of projects in which communities are helping to shape the development of smart grids. 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