The future of electricity involves the Internet, according to the scenario presented by Wired in which the use of electricity will be optimised and flows will be directed more efficiently, also thanks to the information exchanged on the Web. This will allow to enhance the management of non programmable renewable sources.
Enel already actively involves users both in consumption management and in distributed generation. In fact, since the early 2000s, it works on the development and installation of smart meters (more than 32 million installed in Italy), and plays a central role in various Italian and international projects for the development of smart grids.
One of the main properties of smart grids is actually the possibility of transforming the nature of the electricity grid, replacing unidirectional flows (from plants to consumers) to multi-directional ones, just like on the Internet.
The introduction of smart grids is already turning electricity companies into data-driven ones, completing the transformation of consumers from mere users into prosumers, that is, energy producers and consumers.
This is the aim, for instance, of Advanced (Active Demand Value And Consumer Experience Discovery), the European project that was launched in December 2012 and is coordinated by Enel Distribuzione. Enel Info+, the project launched in Isernia (Italy) in 2012, is part of Advanced, and was one of the large-scale tests (involving about 8,000 households) of a device allowing customers to remotely monitor their consumption in real time .
Enel plays an important role also in other European projects, like GRID4EU (Grid for EU), aimed at achieving a large-scale demonstration of the innovations brought about by the Smart Grids; GRID+, to support the planning and coordination of the EEGI (European Electricity Grid Initiative) in 2012-2014; G4V (Grid for Vehicles), which involved electricity companies and academic centres in the assessment of charging infrastructure and the study of the impact produced by electric mobility.