Past accomplishments and future plans.
Zhen Zhang is an environmental attorney and a global energy fellow at the Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and Environment. This article, the second of a two-part series, is edited from the author’s white paper, Current European Union and United States Smart Grid Developments: Similar Desires, Different Approaches.
In general, the E.U. and the U.S. are concerned with similar smart grid issues. While both governments view the deployment of smart meters to be of the utmost importance, they differ in prioritization on other issues. Challenges to smart grid deployment include unexpectedly high consumer bills—instead of consumer savings—and privacy concerns. In other topics, the E.U. has expended more resources on R&D of distributed generation and microgrids. Although the U.S. engages in less research on distributed generation and microgrids, it focuses on drafting interoperability and security standards, including evaluating privacy issues. Only recently did the E.U. order standardization of smart meters and interoperability standards.
Smart Meter Deployment
Installing smart meters is the first step to realizing the benefits of demand side management and improved two way communication and two way power flow for distributed generation. Despite the fact that the E.U. has installed more smart meters than the U.S., both have faced issues with consumer dissatisfaction, cost recovery, and privacy.