Smart grids, the intelligent networks for energy distribution and management, will be one of the main ways to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve sustainable development. Pilot projects are proliferating in the whole of Europe and the first essential step, the installation of electronic meters, has been achieved in many countries, thanks to Enel, a pioneer in this field.
Nevertheless, now the succeeding steps must urgently be brought about. In other words, it is necessary to advance from experimentation to industrial projects. Indeed, although everyone hopes that smart grids will develop on a large-scale, this result cannot be taken for granted, as recently recalled by the European Energy Review (EER), the independent platform that provides information on European energy.
The EER emphasized that Enel is at the front line also in this phase, and it mentions two specific examples. One is the Isernia project, where an innovative smart system was set up to adjust in real time the production of a large amount of renewable energy based on the fluctuating grid demand, also providing information for consumers on the variations of energy prices.
The second is the GRID4EU project, carried out in the Forlì-Cesena area thanks to a remote control system through the Internet to monitor renewable plants, the latter’s energy will be better integrated into the electricity system.
According to EER, Enel’s projects are examples to be followed. But at the same time it’s necessary to overcome a number of obstacles that are still hindering the development of smart grids in Europe.
To this end it is necessary:
- to develop a regulatory framework aimed at promoting investments
- to adopt a European standardization of technologies that are being developed
- to increase consumer awareness and facilitate their active participation
- to draw up new business models that will motivate both energy companies and consumers to focus on smart grids.