"The grid that thinks for itself" is a long article in which The Guardian narrates the development of smart grids and their key role in achieving future world sustainability. A detailed document, born out of the partnership with Enel, which offers a broad outlook on the 'smart world' that is changing energy as well as the way we live our daily lives.
The digitisation and automation of the electrical system are essential steps for the achievement of a long list of'revolutions': the full integration of renewables, the development of distributed generation, consumption efficiency, emissions reduction up to the spread of electric mobility and even the Internet of Things. Enel started following this path more than ten years ago with the installation of the first electronic meters in Italy, turning the country's electric grid into the world's most advanced and digitised. Today the Group has already implemented smart city projects in Europe and Latin America and stands among the main promoters at a global level of electric mobility. It is also in the front line in testing accumulation systems destined to be decisive in the development of renewables and the affirmation of a new sustainable and low-carbon energy model. An example of this smart future is now the basis for the EXPO 2015 for which Enel has built green field, the world's first smart city.
Enel brings technologies and expertise to the countries where it operates, applying experience gained first in Italy and then in Spain featuring smart meters, active demand, smart lighting, low and medium voltage grid automation and all the smart solutions that involve the whole energy supply chain, from generation to end use, both in large cities and in small villages that still lack access to electricity.
Enel's new strategic plan assigns a specific and central role to smart distribution for growth up to 2019, built on the results achieved so far and on the Group's ability to convert investments into global operations that are increasingly adapted to single local contexts.
As for the investments in grids, for which in 2014 around 2.5 billion euros were allocated, a further 5.4 billion of euros are to be allocated between 2015 and 2019 to achieve development goals whose two major indicators are the amount of new smart meters installed (a further 11 million on top of the current 37 million) and users (a further 3.6 million on top of the current 61 million). All the operational areas will be targeted by investments, with Italy and Latin America among the principal growth areas. In turn the 5.4 billion euros allocated are to go towards new connections, increasing service quality and smart solutions: for example the Plan establishes an average 40% reduction in service interruptions for customers served by the Latin American Group.
Enel Group plays a central role in numerous international agreements regarding smart grids. The three most important ones are: European Technology Platform, also known as ETP SmartGrids: European Distribution System Operator for Smart Grids; Meters and More. Cooperation is crucial for the development of smart grids, which involve 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 8 projects for the implementation of smart technologies at urban, provincial and regional level, numerous national and continental e-mobility initiatives and the active participation of customers such as Address and Advanced.