EC to accelerate smart grid deployment in Europe


Günther Oettinger,
EC Energy Commissioner
Brussels, Belgium — (METERING.COM) — April 13, 2011 – The European Commission (EC) has committed itself to promoting faster and wider deployment of smart grids in Europe in a communication presented today.

According to the communication, Smart Grids: from innovation to deployment, over €5.5 billion has been invested in about 300 smart grid projects in Europe during the last decade. However, the EU is still in the early stages of the actual deployment of smart grids, with only around 10 percent of EU households having some sort of smart meter installed, and there is a considerable gap between current and optimal investment in the region, which can only partly be explained by the current economic downturn.

In order to achieve this, the EC proposes to focus on five key strategies:

  • Developing technical standards
  • Ensuring data protection for consumers
  • Establishing a regulatory framework to provide incentives for smart grid deployment
  • Guaranteeing an open and competitive retail market in the interest of consumers, and
  • Providing continued support to innovation for technology and systems.

Last month a mandate was issued to the European standardization organizations on the development of smart grid standards and the EC proposes to set up a monitoring system to ensure the completion deadline is met.

To ensure data privacy and security, the EC proposes that a “privacy by design” approach should be adopted, while actions to adjust the existing regulatory framework for smart grids will include the development of regulatory incentives for their deployment and the establishment of guidelines on a methodology for smart meter implementation plans of member states.

Through revision of the Energy Services Directive, the EC will introduce minimum requirements for the format and content of information provision for customers, and for access to information services and demand management, In addition the EC will propose additional new large scale demonstration initiatives for rapid smart grids deployment, and will launch a Smart Cities and Communities initiative.

“We have to address the issues that stand in the way of full implementation of smart grids right now,” said Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, releasing the communication. “We cannot afford to miss out on the opportunities an upgraded electricity system would offer in terms of decarbonizing our economy and providing real added value for consumers.”

Subject to the response to the communication, the EC says it intends to develop all these initiatives during the current year.