A Paralyzed Energy System Prevents European Citizens From Benefiting From New Smart Technologies

Europe’s energy supply system is undergoing a fundamental change, writes Willem Strabbing, ESMIG managing director.
Published: Tue 16 Jun 2015

In the past, the energy network was designed around large, central, controllable generation units. The transition to sustainable energy sources introduces more dynamic and distributed feeding of energy into the system.

The current European energy system and the energy market are not designed to facilitate more flexibility in demand to cope with the dynamics in generation. The energy transition is paralyzed by the current market design, national administrative burdens and conflicting national measures including regulated energy prices, combined with an ageing infrastructure. Therefore, it cannot keep up with the increased production of renewables across Europe and prevents EU citizens from benefiting from the new smart technologies.

Consumers could play an active role with self-generation and proactively managing their demand according to their needs and the opportunities the system provides. Creating more flexibility in demand can reduce the investment required in the energy networks but in turn increases the complexity of the system operation.

At ESMIG, we believe smart meters are one of the cornerstones for the structure the energy grid of the future. They measure, with certified accuracy, the energy flows to and from the end-users. To enable flexible demand side management, the smart metering infrastructure has to be extended with additional technology.

Solutions for demand side management

The implementation of solutions for demand side management requires an extended infrastructure that includes, but is not limited to the smart metering infrastructure.

The diagram below, which we call the “ESMIG square”, shows the combination of the regulated and commercial channels to the consumer site. These (vertical) channels are logical channels that can be implemented in separate or combined physical channels.

The smart meter measures consumption and generation and produces separate information flows that are meant for different purposes.

A consumer energy management system controls demand and generation in order to achieve economic benefits within the limits that the energy grid allows. In this way, the consumer knows which data are transferred for the purpose of billing and grid management. The consumer controls the use of data for economic energy management purposes.

ESMIG – moving from energy measurement to management

As the European voice of smart energy solution providers, ESMIG drives the timely introduction of efficient and scalable consumer-friendly products and services, which are fundamental to the participation of consumers in the smart energy and water systems of Europe’s future.

Our activities are focused around systems for smart metering, consumer energy management and safe and secure data transfer.

To follow the energy system transition and our members’ evolution, ESMIG is moving beyond smart energy measurement towards smart energy management, including monitoring and control of energy consumption and energy generation at consumer sites or aggregated level.

ESMIG members now provide products, information technology and services for multi-commodity metering, display and management of energy consumption at production at consumer premises.