Lessons learned from European research FP5 projects
The electricity grids that serve European consumers today have evolved over more than a hundred years. They have been built up to perform efficiently and effectively. But now they face new challenges in parallel with major technological breakthroughs. This calls for fresh thinking to take advantage of new technologies and changing business frameworks. The increasing penetration of renewable energy and other distributed sources in the energy supply plays a key role in addressing important needs, such as: supplying the citizens with low-cost, sustainable and reliable electric power; and... contributing to limiting carbon dioxide emissions and fossil fuel dependency by accommodating renewable distributed sources. This brochure describes the lessons learned in around 50 research projects under the Target Action Integration of renewable energies and distributed generation into European electricity networks, in the EU’s Fifth Framework Programme. These projects are considered as the starting point for the development of the ﬁ rst generation of components and new architectures for interactive electricity grids: the “smart power grids”. This intelligent grid system will contribute to the deployment of new and cleaner technologies. It would also allow the electricity consumers to choose their electricity supply according to their needs and preferences. Activities in this area are continuing under FP6 with very promising large Integrated Projects and Networks of Excellence in which more and more utilities and other stakeholders in the electricity sector, usually competitors in the international market, are showing their readiness to share know-how and efforts. In the coming years, research efforts should be intensiﬁed and coordinated in the EU to achieve validated technologies which hopefully will provide innovative win-win solutions that were unimaginable just a few years ago.