Working Together to Make Grids Smart

Published on Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Enel has been working on smart grids and smart cities in Europe and Latin America for years now, developing systems and helping the global spread of expertise, results and research, and as such aiding the growth of smart technology and electricity distribution solutions. The Group's development plan includes digitalisation and automation of the grid, smart metering, e-mobility, remote control, home automation and active demand, and it regards each of the countries Enel operates in.

Technology and digital innovation are a key part of Enel's activities, and as such the business uses its global reach to implement its smart solutions in a variety of different areas. But besides developing smart grid and smart city projects that coexist with the advanced systems of countries like Italy and Spain or those undergoing automation like Chile and Brazil, Enel is also taking part in partnerships that promote development with domestic and supranational public administrations, businesses and institutions. It also plays a central role in a number of international platforms and associations that bring together energy utilities and authorities, telecommunications companies, electricity distributors and research centres, in order to encourage the sharing of smart grid standards, skills and best practices.

There are a number of international agreements for the diffusion of smart grids in which the Group plays a central role through Enel Distribuzione. The three most important ones are:

  • European Technology Platform, also known as ETP SmartGrids: a European forum launched by the European Commission that serves as a strategic guide for its stakeholders by promoting smart grid research and development activities in Europe, focusing in particular on integration across the entire energy system value chain.
  • European Distribution System Operator for Smart Grids: a non-profit association formed by the major European energy distributors (DSO), it was established to carry out demonstration projects on smart grids in Europe, ensure cooperation among electricity distributors and support them in exchanging best practices.
  • Meters and More: a non-profit association co-founded by Enel Distribuzione SpA together with Endesa Distribuci├│n that aims to encourage global use of the open communications protocol on which the Enel Group's smart metering system is based. It was established to develop cooperation among its members for the achievement of a pan-European standard for smart measurement and consumption control systems, as established in mandate 441 of the European Commission.

Cooperation is crucial for the development of smart grids, which involves a wide range of stakeholders. Discussion of smart grid projects regard energy distributors and producers, telecommunications firms, manufacturers and high-tech service companies, as well as public administrations, institutions, research centres and universities. Understanding  the importance of this cooperation is essential for the rapid and widespread development of smart grids and for Enel it has already resulted, among other things, in 11 smart city projects and eight for the implementation of smart technologies in cities, provinces and regions, a range of national and continental e-mobility and active demand initiatives, such as Address and Advanced.