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Smart Grid in America and Europe (Part I)

Similar desires, different approaches.

Fortnightly Magazine - January 2011

21 is one of many platforms that provides a point of organization to target specific topics. 22 The SmartGrids EPT began its work in 2005, finalized its definition and vision in 2006, and drafted a strategic deployment document (SDD) that describes the R&D priorities, benefits, and timeline of the electricity grid. 23 Only recently, in 2010, did SmartGrids ETP issue the final SDD. 24 The first SmartGrids ETP objective is to promote a shared vision for the E.U., which includes its mission of coordinating smart grid developments and SmartGrids ETP priorities. 25 The top three deployment priorities in the 2010 SDD are optimizing grid operations and use, optimizing grid infrastructure, and integrating large scale intermittent generation, such as wind and solar. 26 The other priorities are incorporating information and communication technology, improving distribution networks, and creating new markets for energy efficiency.

The European Electricity Grid Initiative : The EEGI program focuses on innovation and addresses the challenges of integrating new technologies in real working conditions and validating results in demonstrations. 27 The EEGI Roadmap 2010-18 and Detailed Implementation Plan 2010-12 divides research activities into three categories: transmission, distribution, and coordinating activities between the two. Each group has specific implementation activities. For example, the transmission projects involve developing a pan-European grid by creating new network architecture and power technologies via on-shore wind demonstration projects. The nine-year Roadmap program is anticipated to cost 2 billion. The estimated costs only cover participation of the distribution and transmission operators, market players, research centers, and universities. The estimated costs don’t cover deployment costs. An investment of 1 billion will fund the priority projects starting between 2010 and 2012. Priority transmission projects starting in 2011 include tools to analyze the pan European grid architecture and network expansion. Distribution projects to start in 2011 include smart meter infrastructure and system integration of medium sized renewable generators. The money will cover their full duration. Program financing is proposed to be split between the European Commission, member states, tariffs, and market participants.

The E.U. Framework Programme : Additional demonstrations and case studies happen as part of the E.U. Framework Programme. The framework programs run for specified time periods and involve demonstrations on pre-determined topics funded by the European Commission and matching funds from private and public sources. 28 The program selects parties to carry out the research from responses to calls for proposals. 29 The research pilot and demonstration program has been doing work related to the smart grid since the Fifth Framework Programme, which began in 1998 and ended in 2002. 30 The Sixth Framework Programme built upon the previous one, including additional work on distributed generation and microgrids. The current Seventh Framework Programme, which began in 2007 and will end in 2013, considers past progress and addresses current priorities such as hydrogen and fuel cells and smart energy networks. 31 A total of 2,300 million are allocated to energy research. 32

The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan : In 2007, the commission created the SET Plan in order to develop a portfolio of affordable,