U.K. Energy Minister Lord Hunt today officially opened Europe’s first Smart Grid Center at a ceremony held at GE Energy’s Bracknell headquarters. The new center supports the United Kingdom’s effort to help consumers use energy more efficiently and cut carbon emissions.

In his remarks at the event, Lord Hunt cited “the need for a concerted effort to build a smarter electricity grid” and called on utilities, technology companies and consumers “to work together with government for a smarter energy future.”

The technologies that will improve energy efficiency for consumers across the United Kingdom will be showcased at GE’s (NYSE: GE) new Smart Grid Center, the first of its kind in Europe. The center offers visitors the first-ever “generation to appliances” view of the smart grid, showing utilities, government and consumers the many dramatic energy-management and carbon footprint-reducing advances available today.

“With increasing global demand for energy and on the eve of the Copenhagen climate change talks, now is the time to re-think how we deliver smarter, cleaner and more efficient electricity,” said Magued ElDaief, managing director of GE Energy U.K. “In addition to participating in the global dialogue to plan a better energy future, GE has been building and testing real-world solutions that are ready to deploy today.”

At the event, the government announced the publication of a smart grid policy document and the results of a “2050 Vision document” drafted by the Energy Networks Strategy Group.

”The U.K. government’s goal of installing smart meters in every home by 2020 is a valuable step towards smarter energy usage,” said ElDaief. “In the United Kingdom, GE already provides grid management technologies for 13 of the 14 distribution network operators. Our solutions at the Smart Grid Center show how we can further maximize performance from power plants to neighborhood distribution and ultimately consumer usage in the home, the school and the workplace.

“We invite utilities, scientists, government officials and engineers to visit our Smart Grid Center and work together towards a cleaner, smarter, more efficient energy future,” concluded ElDaief.

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