Smart grids and renewables: A guide for effective deployment


Electricity generation from renewable sources will need to increase significantly to achieve the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) objective of doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030. However, continuous and expanded growth of the share of renewables in centralized and decentralized grids requires a smarter approach to grid management.

‘Smart Grids and Renewables: A Guide for Effective Deployment’, a working paper from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), is intended as a pragmatic user’s guide on how to make optimal use of smart grid technologies for the integration of renewables into the grid. It outlines the systemic approach that is required to address both the technical and non-technical issues associated with the implementation of smart grids for renewables.

These issues are:

  • The importance of demonstration projects
  • Evaluation of specific technology requirements for different penetration levels
  • Development of a business case beyond costs
  • Leverage of private sector investments
  • Consideration of the role of innovation and continual technological change
  • Need to recognize and respond to inertia within the electricity sector, and
  • Importance of regulation associated with data ownership, grid security issues, standards, and the role of new private sector grid players.

The report also provides a detailed review of smart grid technologies for renewables, including their costs, technical status, applicability and market maturity for various uses, showing that a range of such technologies is already available to improve grid performance and enable higher penetration levels of renewable energy. Furthermore, the use of smart grids is cost effective when installing new grids or upgrading old ones.

View ‘Smart Grids and Renewables: A Guide for Effective Deployment’ HERE.