Welcome to this special publication documenting the Energy Smart Technologies Leadership Forum, which took place at Glen Cove Mansion outside New York City on 27–28 October 2010.
The Energy Smart Technologies (EST ) Leadership Forum was the latest in the Bloomberg New Energy Finance series aimed at senior decision-makers and experts in clean energy. After the success of our Carbon and Offshore Wind Leadership Forums, the EST edition brought together more than 60 thought leaders from across the smart energy landscape: utilities, financiers, market and regulatory bodies, non-governmental organisations, and service and technology providers – from smart grid and buildings, through distributed energy to electric vehicles and energy storage.
The industry today has more confidence than ever that each of the components of the smart energy vision can be brought to scale.There are now over 300 smart grid projects and pilots underway across the globe; demand response is gaining widespread acceptance and will continue to grow; energy management systems are gaining traction in homes and buildings; significant levels of distributed energy are beginning to affect networks in some regions; plug-in vehicles are starting to roll off production lines, and even energy storage is being demonstrated at scale.
Discussions on the first day of the Forum therefore reflected a justified sense of accomplishment that so much has been achieved in recent years – but digging deeper into individual technologies and applications uncovered a variety of outstanding challenges still to be overcome. Cost points of immature storage technologies need to come down, as do those of distributed renewable generation. Consumers – both residential and commercial – need more education and clarity about the possibilities offered by smart homes and buildings; and the debate over business models for electric vehicle charging infrastructure remains deeply divisive.
And it is not just the individual technologies and applications that need to be nurtured to scale. There is a need to re-examine power markets and regulatory structures, which were designed in a time of centralised bulk generators, vertically integrated utilities and one-way flows of abundant energy – they are not fit for a smart, distributed architecture. More investment is needed to help innovative companies bring new solutions to market. And if we really believe that the various components of smart energy will be successfully integrated into a smart system, deeper cooperation and knowledge exchange across multiple stakeholder groups will be critical.
The EST Leadership Forum was convened in the hope that a meeting of the brightest minds in the industry would provide greater clarity of purpose and a platform to share experiences and lessons. Over two days, thought leaders recounted not only their latest achievements, but also their future challenges and initiatives. Although it has been impossible to capture everything, this Results Book aims to document the highlights of the conversations at Glen Cove – and to suggest a way forward to overcome the challenges that have been laid out.
We hope that investors, policy-makers and industry alike will take the time to digest the lessons set out in this document and act to capitalise on the recent surge of momentum in the industry. We look forward to continuing our research coverage in this dynamic space and working with all of you as you move forward.
To access the full Results Book please download the report.