A Special Issue on Smart Grid in the European Region
By Ferdinanda Ponci and Antonello Monti
The digitalization of electrical power distribution systems is evolving rapidly. In spite of the uncertainty of future roles of the distribution systems operator (DSO), the digitalization is reaching the substations, via existing standards and technologies. And it promises to invest the whole business sector, also beyond the DSOs, enabling markets and services not feasible otherwise. We provide here in a nutshell what digitalization is expected to yield, what its ways are to penetrate the distribution systems, and what factors of influence and challenges are shaping the future scenarios.
By Nouredine Hadjsaid
For the past few years, smart grids have been the main topic of fervent research and development at both the industrial and academic levels. It is anticipated, among many experts, that smart grids will be the enablers of a high penetration of renewable energy, facilitators of a wide adoption of electrical vehicles, catalysts for increased awareness and involvement of the end-user in the energy scene, and altogether contributors to the creation of a sustainable lifestyle for the eco-aware 21st Century citizen. However, all these prospected transformations also bring with them numerous challenges and opportunities for society, as a whole. Future cities will, thus, be fully impacted by these transformations as, according to some prospects, about 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities by the year 2050.
By Carol L. Stimmel
Regional smart grid initiatives in the EU are crucial to the successful large-scale transition to a low-carbon energy society that can meet emission targets. Regional projects have the capability to forge linkages across a culturally-cohesive constituency allowing industry, government, and academic researchers to collaborate in a single smart energy system, including distributed supply, storage, digital networks, and consumption. This article discusses studies taken in Europe to identify opportunities and roadblocks to regional frameworks that can leverage political regions to bind technology efforts with society.
By Corrie Goldman
Led by Professor Philippe Drobinksi, from École Polytechnique in France, an international research team is using experimental microgrids to develop management tools that make renewable energy a viable option for smart grids. With support from the Siebel Energy Institute, the interdisciplinary project created algorithms that manage uncertainty in all phases of the microgrid energy cycle - from energy storage to energy consumption.