Building a Smarter Grid in Europe

Shared learnings, adaptation and government support in the form of mandates can boost smart grid development in Europe.
Published: Wed 02 Dec 2015


Europe is in different stages of smart grid and smart meter deployments. We invited some experts to our studios at European Utility Week to shed some light on the challenges and opportunities that the region faces.

Learn from others

Andy White, Chairman and CEO, Trilliant, points out the energy market differences between the US and Europe and recommends that European energy market players should learn from some of the mature countries like the US and Canada and adapt these learnings to their own needs.

While some countries are well on their way to deploying smart grids, there are those countries which lag behind. Mr White says that government regulation and mandates have a major affect on this growth.

He also touches on the potential of harnessing big data, as well as the importance of teaming up with appropriate communications and data analytics providers from the start.

In conclusion, he advises utilities to learn from each other’s successes and failures so as to avoid unnecessary two to three years of smart grid pilots.

Smart meters boosting innovation

Bernard Lassus, director of the Linky programme, ERDF, discusses the large deployment of Linky meters and the benefits to customers. He says that the Linky meters are aimed at modernizing the utility-customer relationship.

He explains how the meters will help to create a more efficient service delivery and a wider range of services. He says: “The Linky meter could be a good enabler of innovation in the sector. It creates a lot of opportunities for critical infrastructure management and can improve the customer relationship significantly.”

Building a real European Union smart grid

Remy Garaude-Verdier, Grid4EU Project Co-ordinator, ERDF, shares briefly the results of the most promising approaches and solutions developed as a result of the various demonstrations under the Grid4EU project which ends January 2016.

The project is a large-scale demonstration of advanced smart grid solutions with wide replication and scalability potential for Europe. It is carried by six Distribution System Operators (DSOs), covering over 50% of the metered electricity customers in Europe.

He points to various lessons learned when it comes to overcoming the challenges of autonomous medium voltage control, the automated distributed network, and integrating PV within the distribution grid.

His advice to distribution system operators is that they should embrace large European projects like Grid4EU as it creates a platform for everyone to contribute towards building an even smarter grid.