HP Energy Conference: UK should reconsider smart grid rollout

By Derek du Preez
21 Jun 2011 View Comments
EDF smart meter

The government should reconsider its plans for the UK smart grid and look to adopt technology systems already being used in the utilities industry.

Ian Mitton, HP's worldwide director of the utilities industry, told Computing at HP's Energy Conference in Istanbul that current plans for companies to provide new systems for the rollout of smart meters might not be the most effective approach.

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"The government is saying we should bid for [new] systems, which would result in what is already out there just being scrapped," he said.

"We could use what we have now for the future."

HP runs the application and infrastructure for ElectraLink, which carries grid data. Mitton argued that its current systems are also fit to support future smart grid needs.

"ElectraLink runs the data transfer network that is responsible for the data passing between the suppliers and the distribution network operators," said Mitton.

"We have done a lot of work with ElectraLink to upgrade and update the data transfer network so it is now fit for the 21st century. Why could this not be used going forwards, instead of creating a new data transfer network?"

Mitton argued that, as long as systems are fit for purpose, using ones that are already in operation would "speed things up" and said that the "industry needs to look at this more vigorously".

"The government has set an end goal of 2020 to complete the smart meter rollout. Here we are in 2011, and the central procurement agency [DataCommsCo] goes live in 2013," said Mitton.

"This only leaves six or seven years to roll out 53m meters. I'm very hopeful that the government will start to look at what we have now and speed things up."

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