• Why

    Main drivers of a new flexible system

    By 2020, intermittent RES such as wind and solar are expected to represent about 17% of the EU’s total electricity consumption. Besides other, distribution networks will need to accommodate an increasing number of small-scale sources. At the same time, electrification of transport will be needed to further decarbonise the economy. Together with the electrification of heating and cooling, they will further contribute to the projected growth in electricity demand. As a result, power will not only flow in one direction from the power system to the consumer, but increasingly from the customer to the power system as well.

  • How

    Bringing customers on board

    EURELECTRIC believes in promoting flexibility, both on the supply and on the demand side, thereby avoiding an over-sized distribution grid and saving costs for the customers. To achieve this flexibility, customers need to become actively involved and new commercial services established. This will only be successful if electricity retail prices and grid tariffs reflect the actual market and grid situations. At the same time, not only power, but information too will need to flow in both directions. Distribution system operators (DSOs) should have real-time system information at their disposal which allows them to operate the grid safely and to dynamically manage distributed generation and demand.

  • What

    What is a Smart Grid?

    A smart grid is an electricity network that can intelligently integrate the behaviour and actions of all its users to ensure a sustainable, economic and secure electricity supply. As a tool that provides much-needed flexibility, smart grids offer potential benefits to the entire electricity value chain (generators, TSOs, DSOs, suppliers and consumers) and to society as a whole.

  • Who

    DSOs as key enablers for Smart Grids

    Movement towards the new intelligent power system will require increased cooperation among all players in this area. DSOs, currently responsible for transporting electricity from the transmission system to customers (excluding supply), will be at its heart. They will increasingly move beyond their traditional role of “building and connecting” towards “connecting and managing”, and will become enablers for producers, service providers and customers to meet on an open market place. DSOs will bear the lion’s share of the initial investments in smart technologies to encourage development of commercial solutions. Yet their investments are currently being hampered by two things: sub-optimal rates of return and regulatory instability. Before anything else, efficient regulation at the national level that focuses on longer term grid requirements and provides a fair rate of return should be thus encouraged.

Implementing smart grids requires 10 steps to be taken, many of which are closely interrelated and will develop simultaneously rather than in isolation. Nevertheless, we cluster them in three development phases: A facilitation phase at both national and EU level will include the development of regulation and market models, standardisation and testing promising projects. Building on this phase, a large-scale introduction of in particular “smart network management” and “smart integrated generation” functionalities in the member states will follow in the second, deployment phase. Finally, the implementation and commercialisation phase will see new services offered by commercial parties. This will involve a large number of stakeholders and is expected to take longer, most probably beyond 2020.

Smart Grids
Functionalities & Services

Smart Network Management

  • Conventional grid
    developement combined with...
  • Faster Fault
    and self-healing
    capabilities via
    grid automation
  • Advanced network
    operation and contol
  • Smart metering

Smart Integrated Generation

  • Balancing the
    power grid with
    a large share of
    variable renewables,
    including distributed
  • Integrating electric
    vehicles and heating
    and self-healing
    & cool systems
  • Intelligent storage

Smart Markets & Customers

  • Developing
    demand response
    programmes & load control
  • Aggregating
    distributed energy
    sources including

10 Steps to Smart Grids

Smart grids will not be rolled out in a single swoop. Instead, their implementation is an incremental and continuous step-by-step learning process, characterised by different starting points throughout Europe. Smart grids are not an instant revolution, but a steady evolution which has to include the customer as well as energy suppliers and producers. We believe that there is a great need for more awareness about what the deployment of smart grids will include, in particular with a view to identifying the most important steps for policymakers and industry. To support the transition from the traditional to the new flexible power system, this paper develops an indicative EU roadmap for the deployment of smart grids within the next 10 years. Our 10 steps point out what we today see as milestones on the way towards new commercial customer-oriented solutions which will contribute to a successful EU energy policy in terms of sustainability, security of supply and competitiveness. While the facilitation phase (our first four steps) will require EU support, the following deployment and large-scale commercialisation will take place in those member states where smart grids are considered to be economically viable, taking into account the energy supply mix, current and future demand, and the status of networks.

  • EURELECTRIC DSO’s Directors Gathering

    DSOs are increasingly going beyond their traditional role of providing quality electricity to consumers at low cost, and they are therefore facing new challenges regarding investments and operations. To better reflect this evolution and to communicate to the European energy scene with a clear and common DSO voice, EURELECTRIC has decided to reinforce the DSO representation in its structure through setting up a new strategic body – the DSO’s Directors Gathering. Its mission is to contribute to EURELECTRIC’s overall strategy and working programme on DSO issues. Its 20 members (for the first time elected in June 2010) represent more than 2,000 DSOs across Europe. In addition, more than 100 distribution experts are actively involved in the various EURELECTRIC working groups which are supported by the EURELECTRIC Networks Unit.