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European Initiative on Smart Cities

Smart Electricity Grids: Technology Information Sheet

16/02/2011

A smart electricity grid is an upgraded active electricity network. It can intelligently integrate the actions of users that are connected, creating so-called ‘prosumers’ who are able to produce electricity as well as consume it. A smart grid ensures an efficient, sustainable electricity supply, with lower losses and greater reliability and security. Smart meters provide utilities with a secure, two-way flow of data and may form part of a smart grid.

On the transmission side, the existing electricity grid will need to be expanded to accommodate remote renewable sources, while distribution grids are becoming increasingly bi-directional, changing the traditional principles on which grids are planned and controlled. Increased energy efficiency – which mostly comes from residential buildings – and demand-side management of energy are moderating consumption patterns, requiring new advanced control procedures and greater harmonisation between the unbundled transmission system operators and distribution system operators.