Speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton today, Greatrex announced the important role a smart grid will play in delivering a low carbon energy future.

Greatrex said: “There is a huge infrastructure need that we have to achieve, specifically for networks. If we are to overcome the significant challenges we face, smarter networks are going to be critical not only so we can make better use of renewables but also for other low carbon technologies.”

Using information and communications technology to gather and act on information, such as the behaviours of suppliers and consumers, a smart grid improves the efficiency, reliability, economics, and sustainability of the production and distribution of electricity.

UK Power Networks chief executive Basil Scarsella said: “The networks are enablers and our low carbon policies rely on a smart grid to help deliver affordable, secure and sustainable energy. A smart grid will enable consumers to gain control of their energy. They will be able to choose to use it when it costs less and sell it back to the network when they generate it themselves.

Leader of Brighton and Hove Council and member of the Green Party Jason Kitcat, said: “A smart grid will need to be fully integrated to be successful. It is a necessary precursor to a low carbon future but there will need to be a change in consumers’ behaviour and attitudes to be truly effective.

“Although a smart grid is essential, even if it is smart, it still has coal at the end supplying it. If we are to really be smart about our energy then we need to revolutionise the whole process.”

Meanwhile, reacting to Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls’ speech today, where he announced the party’s position on the Green Investment Bank and the HS2 project, Friends of the Earth’s director of policy and campaigns Craig Bennett said: “The Shadow Chancellor understands that the only long-term plan which works for Britain has low-carbon growth as its cornerstone.

“Mr Balls’ promise to let the Green Investment Bank borrow to invest and bring in a 2030 target for clean energy is exactly what we need to restore battered investor confidence.

“But with living standards falling, Mr Balls should’ve backed a nationwide insulation programme to cut bills, which would be a far more prudent use of cash than HS2.

“Tomorrow, Ed Miliband must put low-carbon at the centre of his speech and take the opportunity to slam the Government’s green record so far.”

Leigh Stringer

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie