01/09/2012

The future is called smart grids, both in the US and Europe

New technologies, the enhancing of energy efficiency and especially the development of smart grids are necessary to avoid the increase of electricity bills in the US and to achieve  a number of important energy policy targets.

The US electricity grid will have to face significant challenges over the coming two decades, according to a recent study compiled by the Center for Energy and Environmental Research (CEEPR) at the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), of which Enel is an associate.

New technologies, the enhancing of energy efficiency and especially the development of smart grids are necessary to avoid the increase of electricity bills in the US and to achieve  a number of important energy policy targets.

One of the major challenges regards the need to integrate the increasing renewable production into the grid. A consistent portion of this growth will depend on solar and wind power, and the output will therefore be discontinuous and not fully programmable. Also, the need to place these plants in the most suitable locations  in terms of solar radiation and wind force, far from inhabited settlements will necessarily produce an expansion of the transmission system.  

Unless corrective measures are adopted, the widespread use of electric vehicles will increase electricity demand. This means that energy prices will rise and the diffusion of electric transport will be hindered. In this context, a policy that is focused on retail sale pricing should be applied, which will require enhanced efficiency to be achieved by the widespread installation of smart meters. 

Naturally, investments in technological innovation and development are imperative to renovate the US electricity grid, and will affect the actions needed to achieve the targets that have been set.

Smart grid technology is a field in which Enel has been a pioneer and has an acknowledged leadership at an international level. At the same time it has enhanced and integrated renewable sources and has developed electric mobility, helping update Europe’s infrastructure system like required by the Roadmap 2050.

Enel Green Power North America, Inc. (EGP-NA), part of Enel Green Power, is a leading owner and operator of renewable energy plants in North America with projects operating and under development in 21 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. EGP-NA owns and operates over 70 plants with an installed capacity of around 800 MW powered by renewable hydropower, wind, geothermal, solar and biomass energy.

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