Grid Modernization For Tomorrow’s Customer

Grid modernization should involve customers’ needs and provide flexible solutions.
Published: Fri 27 Nov 2015

Grid modernization is an important step towards creating the efficiency and flexibility that the future energy system needs. Industry experts gave us more insight into this process at our studios which were located at European Utility Week. [Playlist above]

Optimising grid modernisation  

Olivier Grabette, deputy CEO/vice president, RTE/ThinkSmartGrid Association, talks about RTE’s strategy in terms of smart grid and how they are employing digital resources to provide the best service possible to their customers.  

Their main objective, he says, is to harness the benefits of technology so as to manage the balance between loads and flexibility on the demand side. He discusses their smart substation demonstration which enables the management of real time information through algorithms leading to an increase in wind generation capacity by 30% without having to invest in additional hardware solutions.

We asked Mr Grabette about ThinkSmartGrid which was created in April 2015 with the aim of supporting and promoting smart grids solutions across France and the world. It was established to accelerate the transition from demonstration to implementation. The association acts as a platform to steer innovation towards real business issues.

Taking the customer with you

While grid modernization is a crucial step towards the energy system of tomorrow, Joachim Gruber, EnBW, points out that the utility’s approach should be customer-centric.

He talks about EnBW’s smart meter rollout and the importance of informing customers of the benefits that the smart meter can bring them such as flexible tariffs, transparency and active participation in Germany’s energy transition.

Providing a flexible future proof solution

Jesper Daugaard, senior vice president of global marketing, Kamstrup, discusses the importance of innovation and forward planning in the utility business.

The company’s research and development strategy is aimed at understanding customers’ challenges and needs especially during the transition that is taking place currently, which calls for solutions that offer flexibility. For instance, their smart meters have upgradable firmware. He says that the company focuses on long-term solutions instead of short-term profit.

However, these new solutions for the new energy future, like consumption management applications, will only be adopted by customers if there is trust, which has been built on transparency. He point to security as being a major part of this trust and that this should be built into the metering system right from the beginning.