Energising a greener, smarter European electricity grid

Afbeelding bij Energising a greener, smarter European electricity grid

Published: 11 June 2019, by the European Commission

The EU aims to develop a smart grid that can efficiently integrate renewable energy sources into Europe’s electricity network while actively adjusting supply to homes and businesses according to demand at any given time.

To advance its development, the EU-funded project WiseGRID has created nine innovative products designed to increase the smartness, stability and security of a consumer-centric energy grid in Europe.

The products include a fast charging station for electric cars, technology enabling homes to generate, store and trade their own energy, and advanced smart meters which help households and businesses to reduce both their bills and their carbon footprint.

Demonstrations of the nine solutions are under way with more than 300 families and 25 companies using WISEGRID technology at five pilot sites in Belgium, Italy, Spain and Greece.

Once WISEGRID’s technologies have been commercialised after demonstration, the project could reach more than 100 000 people, potentially saving millions of megawatt hours of energy and tonnes of CO2, according to early projections.

‘We are witnessing a paradigm shift,’ says project coordinator Antonio Marqués, Director of Technology at ETRA I+D in Spain. ‘Our energy network was originally designed for fossil-fuel based, centrally produced electricity. The energy transition process – which WiseGRID technologies support – aims to achieve a renewables-based, distributed generation of electricity. This will definitely be more efficient and sustainable but will require a grid capable of accommodating many nodes exchanging energy ‘bidirectionally’ and we need the technology to manage this.’

Consumer-friendly tools

WiseGRID has developed and is currently testing:

  • Energy management platform – scalable, secure and open ICT tool to monitor in real-time the energy network, intended to enable new services and reduce costs for SMEs and individuals;
  • Fast charging station for electric vehicles – enables the use of an electric vehicle as a storage device, feeding electricity stored in its batteries back into the smart grid when needed;
  • Micro control room – allows big utility companies as well as smaller providers to manage and monitor their own grids;
  • Corporate advanced smart meter – helps companies to reduce their energy bills by monitoring their energy consumption in real time with special versions of the software available for businesses such as airports, public buildings and offices;
  • Household advanced smart meter – allows domestic households to monitor their energy consumption, control their smart devices remotely and gives tips on how to reduce bills;
  • Electric vehicle management platform – designed to help businesses that manage multiple electric vehicles, such as taxi companies, to plan cost-effective charging schedules;
  • Virtual power plant – an application that enables households or businesses to offer spare or stored energy to the market;
  • Renewable energy company – providing renewable energy services to consumers so that households do not have to own, service and operate generation equipment;
  • Energy trading platform – software to allow everyone from individuals to SMEs and big utility companies to trade energy and get the best deal.

Energy democracy

WiseGRIDs products all aim to make the energy sector more accessible to cooperatives and SMEs, so that the industry does not consist exclusively of traditional utility companies. They also want to empower individuals to become ‘prosumers’ – consumers who are also able to sell any spare energy they have produced.

This is major part of the project’s strategy to push the energy sector of the future towards a more democratic model that sees both businesses and individuals enabling Europe’s transition from fossil fuels to green energy.

‘We want to support the new players,’ says Marqués. ‘The tools developed by the project will empower people to help shape a new way of producing and consuming energy.’

Project details

  • Project acronym: WiseGRID
  • Participants: Spain (Coordinator), France, Italy, Romania, Belgium, Greece, Germany, United Kingdom
  • Project N°: 731205
  • Total costs: € 17 595 500
  • EU contribution: € 13 854 247
  • Duration: 1 November 2016 to 30 April 2020

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