Powering ahead: Canada could soon become the home of one of the world’s most fully realised smart grids. What lessons can the UK learn from this?
The rugged landscape of Canada might not seem like the obvious place to look for cutting-edge technology. But the combination of vast natural resources, large wealthy cities and sparsely populated wilderness presents challenges when it comes to the country’s energy infrastructure. And the extensive planning and focus on innovation that the province of Ontario is putting into dealing with these issues is helping it build one of the world’s most fully realised smart grids.
The smart grid has long been heralded as a key solution to our energy problems, enabling homes and businesses to generate their own power on a wide scale while cutting electricity usage. Defining exactly what a smart grid is and outlining the technologies it comprises is more of a challenge. Although the UK has its own plans for intelligent transmission, Ontario’s success in rolling out new technology (with three million smart meters already installed in homes and businesses) offers both a glimpse of the near future and a test bed for exciting developments.