Washington, DC, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- July 21, 2010 - An International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN) aimed at accelerating the development and deployment of smart electricity grids around the world has been launched by ministers from 15 governments meeting at the Clean Energy Ministerial in Washington, D.C. over the past two days.

The ISGAN intends to focus high level government attention on the suite of smart grid technologies, and to facilitate dynamic knowledge sharing, technical assistance, peer review and, where appropriate, project coordination among participants.

Further, according to a fact sheet, the ISGAN will sponsor activities that accelerate smart grid deployment and address gaps in five key areas of engagement:

  • Smart grid policy, regulation and finance
  • Standards policy
  • Research, development, and demonstration of pre-competitive technologies
  • Workforce skills and knowledge, and
  • Engagement of smart grid users and consumers at all levels.

The United States has pledged US$4 million in 2010 funding to help launch the ISGAN, with additional funding anticipated from other participating governments.

The ministers also announced the three initial activities under the ISGAN. These will include working with the International Energy Agency (IEA) as it develops a global smart grid technology roadmap (due to be published in November 2010); establishing a forum to discuss standards policy for infrastructure and charging related to plug-in electric vehicles; and developing a series of case studies highlighting the experience of stakeholders such as regulators, utilities, small businesses, local policymakers, and electricity consumers in early smart grid deployments.

The ISGAN was one of more than 10 international clean energy initiatives that were launched at the Ministerial. Others include the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative to transform the global market for energy-using equipment and appliances; the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI) to help countries deliver on their respective electric vehicle deployment targets through sister-city partnerships and cooperation on technology development; and the Global Superior Energy Performance (GSEP) partnership to advance energy efficiency in large buildings and industrial facilities.

Together, these initiatives are expected to eliminate the need to build more than 500 mid-sized power plants worldwide in the next 20 years, according to a U.S. Department of Energy statement.

The participating governments in the ISGAN, as of July 19, 2010, include Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, the European Commission, France, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Looking ahead, the ISGAN partners pledged to continue discussions on the formal establishment of ISGAN, leading up to a November 8-9 meeting at Jeju Island, Korea, as part of the recently announced Korea Smart Grid Week.

The ISGAN will also work closely with the newly established Global Smart Grid Federation on joint public-private projects that will capitalize on the strengths of each sector (see Global Smart Grid Federation launched).

The United Arab Emirates has offered to host the second Clean Energy Ministerial in spring 2011.  The United Kingdom offered to host the third Ministerial at a date to be determined.