By Aida Mezit, Conference Manager, Synergy Events

Scandinavia is one of the pioneering regions in smart energy, with some of the highest levels of renewable power globally. It has championed smart meters and smart grid developments, with local utilities seen as the world’s leaders in innovative schemes in consumer engagement and integration of smart devices.

With a highly developed smart metering infrastructure and rollouts at an advanced stage, utilities are now diversifying the use of smart meters beyond solely billing and CRM functions towards a wider integration with electrical vehicles, electrification of heat, home automation and demand response programs.

Sustainability and green credentials are the underlying thread of Scandinavian smart energy projects, which have been exemplified in some of the globally most concentrated and advanced smart city and grid projects.  In essence, these are the living labs where energy supplies, consumption, and management are seamlessly integrated for greater efficiency using fewer resources.

In support of such projects, the new Danish government has taken a progressive stance on a carbon-free future, with the 50 percent target for wind generation in addition to the 20 percent reduction of carbon emissions by 2020. In a keynote speech at the forthcoming Smart Utilities Scandinavia, Anders Stouge, VP at the Danish Energy Association, will present on the country’s energy roadmap and the role of the government, utilities and consumers alike to realize these ambitious plans.

Kalundborg Smart City, Stockholm Royal Seaport, Smart Grid Gotland, and Kalasatama Smart City are the examples of pilot projects where natural resources, in particular wind, and technological innovation are being put to use to create symbiotic environments with high levels of local energy production and fully realized energy efficiency plans.

However, the move from a smart grid pilot to large scale rollout is a complex one, and requires a number of fundamental changes in how electricity is produced, transported and consumed.  

Wind intermittency presents a huge challenge to the grid and flexible demand is required to manage the consumption at peak times. In the instances when production outstrips demand, better interconnections to the rest of Europe are needed to sell excess electricity at transparent rates.  Poyry's 2011 independent study of wind intermittency in Northern Europe highlights these challenges in great detail.

In addition to these infrastructure and technical challenges, project funding and interstate electricity market harmonization still remain largely unresolved. Policy makers are still establishing the optimal framework that encourages economic growth and protects consumers’ interests, while supporting utilities’ commercial objectives.

Smart Utilities Scandinavia, taking place March 20-21, 2012 in Copenhagen, Denmark comes at no better time to host an open debate on market drivers and ambitious local government targets, drawing on domestic and beyond-the-borders expertise in both policy and market harmonization.

It will showcase best-in-class regional smart grid projects and technological advances and map out the future of integrated electricity networks.

Join us in March for the freshest thinking, cutting edge innovation and inspirational talks by the very best of the Scandinavian smart energy professionals.

For more see Smart Utilities Scandinavia