Sunday, May 24, 2009

Eurelectric, EU-Based Trade Group, Publishes New Report on Smart Grids

The development of smart grids is a way to equip European electricity transmission and distribution operators to contribute to the European Union's ambitious energy-climate legislative package, according to Europe's leading electric utilities' trade group.

According to "Smart Grids and Networks of the Future," published last week by the trade organizaiton Eurelectric, "The current economic crisis provides extra motivation to accelerate the process [of establishing a smart grid] since electric grid infrastructure, as the 'backbone of the economy,' is a good place to kick-off the recovery."

Eurelectric defines "smart grid" in this manner:
"A smart grid is an electricity network that can intelligently integrate the behavior and actions of all users connected to it -- generators, consumers and those that do both -- in order to efficiently ensure sustainable, economic and secure electricity supply.  A smart grid, involving a combination of software and hardware allowing more efficient power routing and enabling consumers to manage their demand, is an important part of the solution for the future."
The report "sets out the state of play on smart grids, the nature of the distribution grid and network development in European countries.  It includes details on drivers for smart grids, network development, investments, new services expected from distribution system operators, active grid management, smart metering, and regulation."

Understanding electricity generation and distribution and how they are regulated in the EU are not topics for the weak of heart.  It is complicated and often amusing to watch as Brussels and the EU member states battle it out to see who will play a more important role in the future. But this much is clear: Eurelectric understands that the European public is in no mood to hear the electric utilities whine about climate change-related mandates on the sector; consequently, Eurelectric tries as best it can to position itself as an enthusiastic player in the EU's attempts to deal with climate change.

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