NEF Forms Consortium on Digital Energy

The research firm New Energy Finance has announced the initial make-up of the Consortium on Digital Energy (CoDE), which will help companies, utilities and consumers understand the coming shift to a digital energy infrastructure all around the world.

The Charter Members are Duke Energy, Elster, eMeter Corporation, National Grid, GridPoint, Inc., Intel, Philips, Telecom Italia, Vodafone Group, Imperial College London, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Risø DTU.

Unprecedented change is happening to the world’s energy system: grids based on very large centralized fossil fuel plants are having to integrate intermittent, distributed, renewable energy capacity; plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles are set to begin mass market penetration; and consumers are demanding unprecedented control over their energy use.

All of this means that in the next 10-20 years, and in some areas much sooner, the world’s energy infrastructure will undergo transformation similar to that which has rippled through the media and telecommunications industry.

“Digital Energy is about the convergence of the traditional energy, telecom and IT industries. Control is switching from analogue to digital, and data is going to become pervasive throughout the system. This goes far beyond just network optimisation of the existing grid,” said Michael Liebrich, New Energy Finance Chairman.

Today’s political and policy events have brought the Smart Grid to the forefront of political and economic debate. President Obama has placed the Smart Grid at the heart of his economic stimulus program. In Europe, the debate has been around the urgency of adding high voltage DC transmission to connect offshore wind and other renewable sources.

The Consortium on Digital Energy brings together senior business decision-makers from all of the areas of the digital energy value chain. It will be led by New Energy Finance researchers with strong backgrounds in energy efficiency and telecommunications.

The global research effort, which will run for one year, will focus on mapping the future digital energy infrastructure under alternative evolutionary scenarios. It will identify the likely winning business models, potential bottlenecks in policy, technology and supply chain as well as determine the opportunities for third party investment. It will include two senior management workshops, and results will be presented at the third New Energy Finance Summit in March 2010.

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