Smartgrids challenge lies in the efficient integration of variable renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power in the European electricity system. Today photovoltaic generation reached 100 MW installed capacity in Europe, it represents about 4% of the whole electricity demand in Europe and it is expected to reach 8% by 2020 and 15% by 2030 (Solar Power Europe projections). This was one of the highlights of the Repower Europe Conference organised on 18 and 19 May in Brussels “Repowering Europe”, one of the largest joint European event this year among the smartgrids and solar photovoltaic sectors. Over 200 participants from all over Europe took part to this event.
The second day event was inaugurated by Marie Donnelly, Director for Renewables, Research and Innovation, Energy Efficiency at the European Commission.
The SmartGrids European Technology Platform and the Photovoltaic European Technology and Innovation Platform co-organised this event, with the support of the European Commission. The objective was to review past successes of the smartgrids in Europe and discuss future challenges.
During the conference the debate centred on the barriers to be overcome and in particular, the required reform in the market design, to allow smart grids to develop and integrate further variable renewables, such as photovoltaic energy. European Union objective, amongst others, is to turn into a Low Carbon energy economy and maintain its leadership in renewable energies; this will require a shift in the way the electricity networks are planned and operated.
Key challenges for the next decade
The main challenges in the area of smartgrids, highlighted during the conference are:
- The increasing penetration of distributed renewable energy sources,
- The increasing electrification of several sectors and the appearance of new loads, such as electric vehicles, and local storage.
- SmartGrids should become seamlessly Digital to enable local balancing, self-generation, wide electrification of mobility, flexibility for any User, full open Market Access
- Future grids require to be versatile to accommodate the highly local volatility of the active components (sources and loads) of the integrated grid
- Networks investments should be incentivized to consider the increased benefits provided by smartgrids in increasing efficiency and lowering costs at medium- and long term.
- SmartGrids should accommodate active end-users through new services.
Form more information on the event and the platforms: