International Smart Grid Action Network Announced

July 20, 2010

Today at the Clean Energy Ministerial in Washington, D.C., ministers from around the world launched the International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN) to accelerate the development and deployment of smart electricity grids. Participating governments include Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, the European Commission, France, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

ISGAN will focus high-level, international government attention on the promising suite of Smart Grid technologies in an effort to cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions while responding to changing electricity generation and demand. It will facilitate dynamic knowledge-sharing, technical assistance, peer review, and project coordination among participants.

ISGAN will sponsor activities that accelerate Smart Grid deployment and address gaps in five key areas of engagement:

  1. Smart Grid policy, regulation, and finance
  2. Standards policy
  3. Research, development, and demonstration of precompetitive technologies
  4. Workforce skills and knowledge
  5. Engagement of Smart Grid users and consumers.

The United States pledged $4 million to help launch ISGAN, with additional funding anticipated from other participating governments. Ministers also announced their joint participation on at least three initial activities. ISGAN partners will:

  • Work with the International Energy Agency as it develops a global Smart Grid Technology Roadmap, inventory Smart Grid initiatives and needs, and identify opportunities for collaborative technology and policy development efforts. The roadmap will be published in November 2010.

  • Establish a forum to discuss standards policy for infrastructure and charging related to plug-in electric vehicles to address a rapidly emerging need.

  • Develop a series of in-depth, multimedia case studies that highlight the experiences of stakeholders such as regulators, utilities, small and medium enterprises, local policymakers, and electricity consumers in early smart grid deployments.

ISGAN builds on the momentum of substantial investments made in the Smart Grid by its participating countries. These include:

  • Japan: $0.6 billion in planned investment between 2010 and 2014 for four demonstration projects promoted by the Japanese national government, local governments, and private sector

  • United States: $4.5 billion under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is matched by more than $5.5 billion in private-sector investment

  • United Kingdom: £10 billion between 2010 and 2020 on a full smart meter roll-out, smart grid trials, and deployment under the Low Carbon Networks Fund and electric vehicle infrastructure

  • Korea: $21.6 billion in planned investment between 2010 and 2030 by the Korean government and private sector under the Korea Smart Grid Roadmap.

In addition, Italy has a leading role in the European Electricity Grid Initiative launched by the European Distribution System Operators and Transmission System Operators. It plans to invest more than €2 billion between 2010 and 2020.

ISGAN fulfills a key recommendation in the Smart Grid Technology Action Plan co-authored by Korea and Italy and released by the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate’s Global Partnership in December 2009.

In addition, ISGAN complements the Global Smart Grid Federation, a global stakeholder organization also launched today at the Clean Energy Ministerial. Composed of the GridWise Alliance, the Korea Smart Grid Association, Smart Grid Australia, and several similar groups, this “association of associations” brings together the intellectual capital of Smart Grid stakeholder organizations from around the world. ISGAN is meant to leverage and bolster this and other international efforts to support the development and deployment of Smart Grid technologies. The ISGAN partners pledged to work closely with the Global Smart Grid Federation on joint public-private projects that will capitalize on the strengths of each sector.

The ISGAN partners also pledged to continue discussions on the formal establishment of ISGAN leading up to a Nov. 8–9, 2010, meeting at Jeju Island, Korea, as part of the recently announced Korea Smart Grid Week.