Canadians have long been leaders in electricity and grid development. But while the electricity grid has expanded and become more sophisticated to meet the demands of a growing Canadian population, the infrastructure holding it together is ageing, under stress and in need of modernization. It is estimated that Canada has to invest more than $10 billion annually over the next 20 years to modernize its generation, transmission and distribution systems.

SmartGrid Canada was created to ensure a national smart grid road map is implemented across the country. With government, industry, academic and community stakeholders at the table, SmartGrid Canada will help make sure the country takes a cost effective approach to modernize the electricity sector using the best technology from the digital and telecommunications sectors.

Established in 2010, SmartGrid Canada brings together public and private organizations, including utilities, vendors, technology and service providers, academia and other industry associations. A not-for-profit association focused on delivering innovation and leadership to advance the country’s smart grid infrastructure, it includes such leading companies as Hydro Quebec, BC Hydro, IBM and GE.

SmartGrid Canada has polled its members to ascertain the smart grid priorities for Canada in 2011. Some of the priorities are: automation and conservation initiatives; foundational components that will draw the industry together in Canada, such as the technology roadmap and the smart grid repository; and industry issues and perceived gaps that need to be addressed, such as research collaboration and regulatory reform.

These priorities are intended to cover the full spectrum of smart grid activities from generation (including renewables), through the full power delivery system (transmission, substations and distribution), to all customer and building applications (loads and self generation). There are opportunities in all sectors, and these priorities represent some of the key focus areas that can collectively contribute significantly to the advancement of smart grid solutions for the benefit of Canadians.For more information visit http://sgcanada.org/

Alex Bettencourt, President, SmartGrid Canada