Building the Business Case for Smart Grids in Europe
In current EU policy, the Electricity Directive (2009/72/EC) and the Energy End-Use Efficiency and Energy Services Directive (2006/32/EC) consider the deployment of intelligent metering as a key step towards energy efficiency. The European Council of February 2011 recognised the important role of smart grids and invited member states, in liaison with European standardisation bodies and industry, “to accelerate work with a view to adopting technical standards for electric vehicle charging systems by mid-2011 and for smart grids and meters by the end of 2012”. Also, the Commission’s Communication on a Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050 identifies smart grids as a key enabler for a future low-carbon electricity system, facilitating demand-side efficiency, increasing the shares of renewables and distributed generation, and enabling electrification of transport. Similarly, the Commission’s 2011 Communication “Smart grids: from innovation to deployment” sets the stage for a number of future initiatives in this policy domain, such as actions on smart grids standards; actions on data privacy and security of data in smart grids; actions to adjust the existing regulatory framework for smart grids; actions to guarantee competitive smart grids services to customers; and actions to support innovation and rapid application. More recently, in the context of "Connecting Europe Facility", the regulations on guidelines for Trans-European Infrastructure (COM (2011)658 and 657) have identified smart grids deployment across the Union as a priority thematic area for infrastructure investment up to 2020.
Reasons for CEPS to launch a Task Force on Smart Grids:
- First, many stakeholders – from academics to various industry sectors – have signalled the need to create a concrete platform for discussing definitions, standards and governance aspects of smart grids at the EU level, in order to speed up implementation of the ambitious and widely endorsed long-term goals of the Resource-Efficient Europe flagship initiative launched within Europe 2020.
- Second, some of the institutions involved in policy and research on smart grids have highlighted the need for further reflection, training and dissemination activities in the field of smart grids, together with activities aimed at helping institutions clarify many of the governance and technical aspects of smart grids. One example is the recent set of recommendations released by ENISA on security aspects of smart grids.
- Third, given the multi-stakeholder nature of the dialogue on smart grids, CEPS seems uniquely positioned to ensure the adequate representation of relevant players. Besides its strong links with EU institutions and academia, CEPS can count on a well-established group of corporate members from the energy and IT sector, which was further strengthened by the recent creation of the CEPS Carbon Market Forum and the CEPS Digital Forum.
- Fourth, CEPS has demonstrated its ability to facilitate public debate on similar issues – for example, in its Task Force on Critical Infrastructure Protection, which spurred lively debate inside and outside EU institutions. Similarly, CEPS has already organised successful events on the future of smart grids.
Rapporteurs and contact persons:
- Christian Egenhofer, Senior Fellow, CEPS, Head of the Energy and Climate programme
- Andrea Renda, Senior Fellow, CEPS and Co-Manager of the CEPS Digital Forum