Smart grid technologies can boost the economy
Adopting smart grid technologies could boost the UK economy, suggest an E&Y study.

Britain could create up to 10,000 new jobs and pump up £13 bn ($21 bn) by upgrading its power distribution networks with smart grid technologies, according to the latest report from Ernest & Young (E&Y).

Electricity generation and distribution across the country can be maximised with the adoption of smart grid technologies, thereby reducing consumption costs to homes and businesses, says the study done on behalf of the industry body, SmartGrid GB.

Members of the SmartGrid GB include British Telecom, Cable & Wireless, General Electric, IBM, Scottish Power, Siemens and Toshiba.

The government's energy regulator Ofgem has an observer status along with Consumer Focus.

According to the Ernest & Young report, though the transition from the current system to a smart grid might require incremental investment of £ 23bn up to 2050, it could provide a huge boost to the economy by way of growth in jobs and exports.

"In addition to the direct economic benefits, we can also expect to see wider economic benefits to the UK, providing a welcome boost to growth, jobs and exports," said Bill Easton, Utilities Director at Ernest & Young, in a statement.

"These could include close to 10,000 new jobs and exports in excess of 5 billion (pounds)," he said, adding: "Overall, the report paints a compelling case in favour of smart grids."

Currently the government has plans to equip all households and businesses with smart meter by 2019, to help individuals monitor their energy consumption. While doubting the success of the government proposal, Ernest & Young believes that it may delay any major investments in smart grid technologies.

The government scheme requires replacement of nearly 53 million gas and electricity meters.

"Failure to deploy a smart grid will hamper development of clean tech industries and push up domestic electricity costs," Reuters quoted Robert McNamara, Manager of SmartGrid GB, as saying.

According to McNamara, the country cannot hold on to the "wait-and-see" approach if it really wants to make its footprints clear in the sector as others such as China and the US are also making similar systems.