Eskilstuna, Sweden --- (METERING.COM) --- August 8, 2012 - The Baltic Sea island of Gotland is set to play a pioneering role in smart grid research, following the recent award of 23 million krona (US$3.4 million) from the Swedish Energy Agency.

Gotland, located 90 km from the Swedish mainland, is the largest island in the Baltic Sea with a total area of 3,140 km2 and a population of just over 58,000 inhabitants. It is also a popular tourist destination, with a further 300,000 tourists visiting the island annually.

Smart Grid Gotland is a joint venture between Vattenfall, Gotlands Energi AB (GEAB), the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Swedish National Grid, ABB and Telvent. The project aims to develop strategies for building and operating a large scale smart grid with a high proportion of intermittent wind power in the distribution network.

“The project will show how an existing distribution system can be upgraded to handle large amounts of wind generation,” explains Håkan Gustafsson, Vattenfall’s project manager. “For the electricity customers of Gotland, the project will mean better quality power and an opportunity to lower their electricity bills by adjusting their electricity use through access to cheaper and more sustainable wind energy.”

The smart grid is to be developed east of the island’s capital, Visby. The area has a wind farm and a distribution network made available by GEAB. The intention is to include some 30 industries and farms in the project, along with 2,000 volunteer households. These consumers will receive electricity tariff alerts so that they can adjust their consumption accordingly. Electricity consumers are expected to start participating in the project in 2013.

The project also includes a smart grid lab, scheduled for completion in summer 2013. This research platform will be based on a computer system that can receive a huge amount of data from the existing upgraded network for storage and analysis.”

According to ABB, Smart Grid Gotland will be an example of how to adapt an existing electricity network to modern conditions. The island of Gotland generates a great deal of wind power, and approximately 40 percent of all energy used on Gotland in 2012 will come from this power source.

Smart Grid Gotland will run for three years following kick off this September.