Economies with a desire to fully deploy smart grid technologies need to make better use of international standards and not create unnecessary technical barriers to trade, said experts.
At an APEC workshop on regulatory approaches to smart grid investment and deployment, regulators from the region sought to better coordinate across their agencies to facilitate the trade and investment of smart grid technology. The event took place alongside the 5th World Forum on Energy Regulation in Quebec City, Canada.
APEC recognizes smart grid deployment as a means to address climate change, improve energy efficiency and promote green growth. Chair of the Korean Electricity Regulatory Commission, Professor Ja-Yoon Koo, said that smart grids are key to enabling the greater use and integration of renewable energy sources in businesses and homes.
“For smart grids to truly take off, we have to consider developing and adopting common interoperability standards across the APEC region,” Prof. Koo told participants at the workshop.
“Adhering to such standards can significantly contribute to the trade and investment in smart grid technologies,” he added. “This will in turn create new business opportunities and greatly benefit consumers, as well as the environment.”
Interoperability in smart grid technologies refer to the ability for diverse systems – such as advanced metering infrastructure, electric vehicles and energy storage devices – to work together seamlessly.
Using common standards will enhance interoperability and reduce costs and risks associated with investments in these technologies.
“The regulatory community plays a critical role in smart grid investment and deployment,” said Dr. George Arnold, the workshop’s Co-Chair and the National Coordinator for Smart Grid Interoperability at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the United States.
“With continued growth in smart grid investments over the next five years, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, it is critical that APEC’s regulators be well informed about the standards impacting smart grid development, and how they can potentially spur even greater investments and benefits.”
“Standards should always be developed to ensure interoperability,” said Mr. Koichi Noda, Director of the Technical Regulations, Standards and Conformity Assessment Policy Division at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
“Because smart grids are systems that contain a wide range of technology, the creation of standards for mutual linkage among them is extremely important,” he emphasized. “Interoperability makes it possible for smart grids to work securely and effectively.”
Promoting transparency and global collaboration in the development of smart grid interoperability standards was identified as a priority issue by APEC Ministers last year.
This workshop complements the current APEC Smart Grid Initiative and the APEC Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance work plan of promoting good regulatory practices. The outcomes of the workshop are expected to be endorsed by the Committee on Trade and Investment and will also be presented to APEC Energy Ministers when they meet in St. Petersburg, Russia on 24 -25 June. A report of the meeting will be made available on the APEC Publication Database.
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