Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

 

Mar 5, 2018

Smart GridSmart Grids are currently a hot topic issue, particularly when discussions turn to the future of electricity use within major cities. In Canada there are a number of groups working to better our infrastructure and put Canada on the cutting edge of the adoption of Smart Grid technology.

One such group is SmartGrid Canada, a not-for-profit association made up of public and private organizations, including utilities, vendors, technology and service providers, academia, and other industry associations. Through its partnerships SmartGrid Canada is already helping drive the transformation with utilities that serve more than 70% of Canadians.

As with any talk of smart technology we need first consider the definition. SmartGrid Canada identifies that “the Smart grid takes advantage of the declining costs in computing and telecommunications to enable more intelligence to be embedded into the power grid. With this new ability to monitor and control the grid to: Integrate renewable energy; improve reliability; drive operational efficiencies; plan the grid better, enable electric vehicles; and optimize the grid using energy storage.”[1]

SmartGrid Canada is working to build awareness about the need and benefits that a “smarter” electricity system would provide. In order to see these goals achieved they focus on and “Promotes the research, development and deployment of new innovative energy technologies and products; advocate for national and provincial energy policies that supports the development of Smart Grid technologies in Canada; connect and facilitate collaborations and joint projects in Canada and international markets; research Canadian consumers’ attitudes toward modernizing the grid and share insights with members; network with the highest levels of Canadian and international industry experts.”[2]

The relationships they have built are a key component of delivering on their goals. Networking among members and Canadians has and will continue to provide a one stop-location for gaining resources and coordinating Smart Grid activities across the country.

SmartGrid Canada is engaged completely in what are likely the two most important factors for wide acceptance of Smart Grid technology by Canadians. These factors include awareness and education, two factors that are core to SmartGrid Canada and their members.

To gain awareness of the Canadian consumer understanding and position regarding Smart Grid adoption, each year 2000 Canadians from across the country are surveyed by SmartGrid Canada. The objectives of the survey and accompanying report are to “uncover key misconceptions about Canada’s grid; understand attitudes and perceptions towards electricity and participation in programs that help control demand; how to develop effective messaging that will convert consumers into supporters of a smarter grid’ measure interest in smart grid devices, including the likelihood of making the investment; and uncover the benefits of a smarter grid that are most resonant with Canadians.”[3]

In support of awareness SmartGrid Canada works with the Canadian Smart Grid Action Network (CSGAN), a group organized by Natural Resources Canada to bring together government and industrial parties, and also supports research that has been conducted by Natural Resources Canada. The most recent report published by Natural Resources Canada on Smart Grids can be accessed here: https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/offices-labs/canmet/publications/smart-grid/17985

As we mentioned, SmartGrid Canada is also involved in promotion through education, and they have chosen a top down approach to ensure that knowledge reaches the highest levels of the utility sector. As such SmartGrid Canada has partnered with the Centre for Urban Energy (CUE) at Ryerson University to provide a customized Executive Education program designed for both Canadian and foreign utilities. SmartGrid Canada identifies that “program facilitates knowledge transfer and shares best practices. It showcases innovative smart grid research and provides exclusive access to the one-of-a-kind Schneider Electric Smart Grid Laboratory housed in the Centre for Urban Energy (CUE). The course covers Ontario’s smart grid policy and regulation, and most importantly presents real-world cases of utility smart grid implementations (smart metering, renewable integration, ADMS, energy storage etc.).”[4] For details on the program go here: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/564e3a7fe4b07bde2fc0fbf4/t/57351a7140261dc8813f30ce/1463097969376/Executive+Education+Overview.pdf

Beyond their direct educational program membership is the key to continuing their efforts and for networking between the various organizations and utilities that will be the driving force behind change. Membership provides not only networking potential within Canada but also on the international playing field. Membership eligibility is quite open, with set costs for Canadian public and private business and case by case evaluation for other organizations (government, academic, foreign businesses).

Members, and interested individuals can also learn more by attending the annual SmartGrid Canada conference that boasts a number of key speakers and exhibits that demonstrate the importance of Smart Grid technology adoption within Canada and ways in which to most effectively implement such a unified system. In all SmartGrid Canada is a leader and driving force for the modernization of the electrical grid and bringing knowledge to the Canadian people about Smart grid adoption.
Notes
1. http://www.sgcanada.org/what-is-smartgrid/
2. http://www.sgcanada.org/about-us/
3. http://www.sgcanada.org/canadian-consumer/
4. http://www.sgcanada.org/executive-education/

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As industry experts you know the products you use everyday better than anyone and should have input on what information you receive about products and what could improve them.

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