Brussels, Belgium --- (METERING.COM) --- May 10, 2010 - The European SmartGrids Strategic Deployment Document (SDD) has been finalized, setting out a plan of action and roadmap for deploying smart grids in Europe.

The third in a series of reports produced by the SmartGrids Technology Platform, the SDD focuses on the deployment of new network technologies and the delivery of the region’s smart grid vision.

The SDD identifies six smart grid deployment priorities to facilitate achieving Europe’s smart grid goals. These are:

  • Optimizing grid operation and use, including decentralized but well coordinated grid operation, operational security and market-based treatment of electric power flows (by 2012)
  • Optimizing grid infrastructure, through building new infrastructure and improving and optimizing use of existing facilities (by 2020)
  • Integrating large scale intermittent generation, notably on-shore and off-shore wind power (by 2020)
  • Information and communication technology, including defining the tasks and implementing the necessary standards for ICT solutions in future smart grids (by 2015)
  • Active distribution networks, i.e. changing the distribution network from being “passive” and dependent on a human operator’s intervention to an “active” one (by 2020)
  • New market places, users and energy efficiency, which is about bringing customers as the focus and first line of interest of smart grids (by 2020).

Failing to address the key issues from these deployment priorities will directly impact the deployment of smart grids and jeopardize timely and effective achievement of the European targets, the SDD warns. The resulting delays, or only partial smart grids deployment, imply not only that the 2020 targets – 20 percent more renewables, 20 percent less CO2 emissions and 20 percent higher energy efficiency by 2020 – may not be met and customer and societal benefits are not achieved, but another drawback is that European security of electricity supply in general, and the operational security of the European electricity grids in particular, may not be maintained. In addition the expectations for new business opportunities for grid companies, service providers, and manufacturers may not be delivered.

In order to deliver the smart grids vision, this must be promoted to all stakeholders to get their “buy in,” and a pan-European approach to the project should be encouraged. Further, the early deployment of smart grid technologies and solutions through demonstration projects should be encouraged and business opportunities to build the case for deployment should be further developed.

It is also a vital part of the smart grids vision to promote active demand side/user participation, and standards and regulatory bodies from both the electricity and telecommunications sectors should be engaged to ensure they are in line with the vision and its needs.

Another issue is the development of the “skills” base in the electricity networks sector and without resolving this problem of resources, any progress will be severely constrained.

Finally it is proposed that a SmartGrids Association with the ability to provide full-time resource dedicated to the ambition of achieving the SmartGrids vision be formed with members representing the stakeholder community to take research, development and deployment to the next stage.