SEPA President Calls for Greater Collaboration between Utilities, Solar Industry on Smart Grid Implementation

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Julia Hamm, President and CEO of the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), today called for utilities and solar companies to work more closely together as both look for opportunities to modernize the electric grid through the utilization of renewable and “smart grid” technologies. Her remarks came during a panel as part of the annual GridWeek conference in Washington.

The solar industry can and should work in close collaboration with the utility industry to draw clear parallels between the smart grid and the ability to meet renewable energy standards.

Julia Hamm, President and CEO of the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), today called for utilities and solar companies to work more closely together as both look for opportunities to modernize the electric grid through the utilization of renewable and “smart grid” technologies. Her remarks came during a panel as part of the annual GridWeek conference in Washington.

The term “smart grid” often encompasses a suite of technologies that give utilities access to more real-time data about customer energy usage, while giving customers more direct control over the timing and amount of power they take from the grid. These technologies would also make it easier for utilities to integrate more renewable energy into their energy portfolios, a move requested by many customers and required by state renewable energy standards.

“The solar industry can and should work in close collaboration with the utility industry to draw clear parallels between the smart grid and the ability to meet renewable energy standards,” said Hamm. “Conversations in the U.S. frequently downplay the significant role the smart grid can have in helping meet clean energy goals.”

Hamm contrasted the situation in the U.S. with what SEPA leaders and a group of utility executives witnessed in Japan during a fact-finding mission earlier this year.

“While we were in Japan, I had my eyes opened to an important point,” said Hamm. “The people we met from Japanese utility companies, government agencies and solar companies all voiced a similar perspective -- that in the U.S. we are pursuing smart grid for a variety of reasons, from reliability to cost savings.

“But to the Japanese, smart grid is all about creating a low carbon society through renewables and energy efficiency.”

A selection of videos from GridWeek will be available following the conference at http://www.gridweek.com/2010. SEPA will offer a one-hour webinar on its full findings from Japan on December 1, 2010. For more information, visit http://www.solarelectricpower.org/events/webinars.aspx.

ABOUT SEPA
The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) is an educational non-profit organization dedicated to helping utilities integrate solar power into their energy portfolios. With more than 750 utility and solar industry members, SEPA provides unbiased utility solar market intelligence, up-to-date information about technologies and business models, and peer-to-peer interaction. From hosting national events to one-on-one counseling, SEPA helps utilities make smart solar decisions. For more information, visit http://www.solarelectricpower.org.

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