The wide-scale deployment of smart grid solutions at local level, where the majority of renewable energy is connected, is an issue of critical importance for the stability of the European grid, according to the European Distribution System Operators Association for Smart Grids (EDSO for Smart Grids).
In a paper issued in response to the European Commission's consultation on a draft Communication on state aid to promote important projects of common European interest (IPCEIs), EDSO noted that most new generation and demand needs to be connected at local level. The Association stressed that local smart grid development is a prerequisite if the EU’s objectives to 2020 and beyond are to be achieved.
EDSO noted that not only is deployment of smart grid solutions crucial for local and overall EU grid stability, it is also of critical importance for the completion of the internal electricity market in Europe. For this reason, the Association believes that key European funding policies for electricity network deployment should not only apply to cross-border projects, but should also take local deployment of smart grid solutions into consideration.
That said, the cost of research, innovation, demonstration, and deploying smart grids across Europe will be high, and significant investment will be required right now in order to meet the 2020 deadline. However, the Association warned that there are still regulations in place in many Member States that pose a barrier to private investment, adding that public support to smart grid development is important if network costs for consumers are to be reduced.
EDSO stressed that the draft Communication on state aid to promote IPCEIs does not reflect the urgent need for smart grid investment. According to the Association, it is important to recognize this need, if the European Commission is to achieve its policy goals.