Smart Grid projects in Europe
Lessons learned and current developments
Meeting the EU’s climate change and energy policy objectives for 2020 and beyond will require a major transformation of our electricity infrastructure. Strengthening and upgrading existing networks is of paramount importance to integrating an increasing amount of renewable energy generation, enhancing grid security, developing the internal energy market and realising energy saving and efficiency. To achieve these goals it is not only necessary to build new lines and substations, but it is essential to make the overall electricity system smarter through the integration of Information and... Communication Technologies (ICT). Smart Grids can be described as an upgraded electricity network enabling two-way information and power exchange between suppliers and consumers, thanks to the pervasive incorporation of intelligent communication monitoring and management systems. For Smart Grids to deliver their envisaged benefits however, the realisation of physical infrastructures alone will not be sufficient and must be complemented by the emergence of new business models and practices, new regulations, as well as more intangible elements such as changes to consumer behaviour and social acceptance. Many different stakeholders are involved in this process and different forms of cooperation are already arising. In the last few years, initiatives on Smart Grids, with different aims and results, have been growing in number and scope throughout Europe. Substantial public and private investments have been made in research and development (R&D), demonstration and deployment activities. At this stage, there is a clear need to survey the implemented projects in order to monitor the direction Europe is taking, to benchmark investments, and to tackle challenges and possible distortions from an early stage. Sharing the results of these projects can also contribute in increasing the stock of knowledge and accelerate the innovation process. In this perspective, the main goal of this study is to prepare a comprehensive inventory of Smart Grid projects in Europe and use project data to support the analysis of trends and developments. The report looks into several aspects of the Smart Grids landscape to describe the state of the art of their implementation, the emerging hallmarks of the new electricity system and some foreseeable developments. This report results from a request from Directorate-General for Energy (DG ENER) to start a data collection effort to develop a catalogue of Smart Grids projects in Europe and to carry out a qualitative analysis of their results. The analysis we carried out contributed to the drafting of the Commission Communication “Smart Grids: from innovation to deployment”, adopted in April 2011 . This survey of Smart Grid projects in Europe brings together input and feedback from a variety of stakeholders through a cooperative and transparent process. The interim version of this study has been presented on many occasions at expert meetings, including the EU Task Force on Smart Grids1 and the European Electricity Grid Initiative2. Their comments and observations have been carefully taken into consideration and, where possible, integrated into the analysis. This work is intended to be the first of a series of snapshots that the JRC will periodically prepare on the development status of Smart Grids in Europe to offer a basis for discussion among Smart Grid stakeholders and promote the sharing of knowledge, experiences and best practices.
- Corporate author(s): Institute for Energy and Transport Themes: Energy research
- Subject: climate change, energy research, energy saving, Joint Research Centre, research report