Brussels, Belgium --- (METERING.COM) --- January 25, 2010 - Under the SmartGrids ERA-Net initiative energy research funding institutions in 10 European countries are making available approximately €6.25 million for research and development on smart grids.

SmartGrids ERA-Net is aimed at developing transnational research activities to speed up the development of a smart European electrical infrastructure, and provides coordination of related research activities within Europe via a network of program managers closely connected to policy makers and industry that undertakes joint activities.

The purpose of this first call for research proposals is to generate joint European relevant applied research activities on SmartGrids ERA-Net related issues, as well as to promote transnational research cooperation by bringing together the different national research communities to create a critical mass for cross-disciplinary research.

Research proposals are required to fit into the generic definition of a smart grid adopted by the EU SmartGrids Technology Platform, namely: “A smart grid is an electricity network that can intelligently integrate the actions of all users connected to it – generators, consumers and those that do both – in order to efficiently deliver sustainable, economic and secure electricity supplies…” This opens the way for any topics within the thematic area of smart grids, from intelligent metering solutions to grid technologies to non-technological issues such as economics, legal aspects, and regulation.

The participants in SmartGrids ERA-Net are Norway (RENERGI program), Denmark (ForskEL program), the Netherlands (Energie Onderzoek Subsidie program), Switzerland (Grids program), Basque Country (GAITEK program), Estonia (Energy Technology Program), Austria (Energy Systems, Grids and End-Use focus area), France (ADEME research priority 6: intelligent networks and storage), Latvia (National Energy Research Program), and Belgium (VITO and IBBT research programs).

The funding bodies and their respective contributions are the Research Council of Norway (€1 million), Energinet.dk (€0.5 million), Agentschap NL (€1 million), Swiss Federal Office of Energy (€0.5 million), Basque Government (€0.8 million), Estonian Science Foundation (€0.15 million), Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (€0.5 million), ADEME France (€1 million), Latvian Academy of Sciences (€0.3 million), and VITO and IBBT Belgium (€0.5 million).

Projects, which will be of maximum 3-year duration, are expected to be named in early July, and then should start getting under way by the Fall.