Brussels, Belgium --- (METERING.COM) --- March 6, 2012 - A methodology to quantify smart grid projects in Europe and interpret the results has been developed by the European electricity sector industry association, Eurelectric.

The document, The Smartness Barometer, is based on a January 2010 framework by the EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) that was developed to estimate the costs and benefits of smart grid demonstrations.

Following the EPRI approach, three major steps are envisaged but instead of a ten step approach, a seven step approach is proposed by Eurelectric:

  • Characterization of the project:
    Step 1 – Describe the technologies, elements and goals of the project
    Step 2 – Identify the smart grid functionalities
  • Quantification and monetization of benefits:
    Step 3 – Map each functionality onto a standardized set of benefit types
    Step 4 – Establish the project baseline
    Step 5 – Quantify and monetize the identified benefits and beneficiaries
  • Comparison of costs and benefits:
    Step 6 – Quantify and estimate the relevant costs
    Step 7 – Compare costs to benefits.

Using Portugal’s InovGrid project as a practical example, the report finds that the methodology can support distribution companies and regulators in evaluating and comparing different types of “smart” investments, communicating their results and developing investment strategies which incorporate “smart” investment options where appropriate. Further, the methodology can clearly help to show which technological solutions work and which do not. It also allows for meaningful comparisons between different types of projects installed in different systems across Europe

However, the methodology provides no clear answer as to how, when individual project results have been evaluated, their combined contribution can be extrapolated to national and European levels.

Eurelectric says the methodology is now being further developed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center.

But in the meantime, the organization comments, success criteria and realistic business cases based on intensive pilots are vital to raise awareness of smart grid investment needs among public and private stakeholders at national and European level.