Smart grids are "smart" grids because they don't only transport electricity but also information that will become an active part of the electricity supply system. The deployment of smart grids will enable a more efficient management of the grid and the integration of renewable energies.
Source: SAP, 2009
ICTs have a major role to play in increasing the efficiency, as well as
managing and controlling the power grid. The role of the ICT sector in smart
grids has been summarised in a report issued by the Commission in July 2009
for a Low Carbon Economy. Smart Electricity Distribution Networks" .
Because of the significant enabling role smart grids can play in moving towards a low carbon economy the Recommendation of 9 October 2009 on mobilising Information and Communications Technologies to facilitate the transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy calls on Member States to:
> Agree on a common minimum functional specifications for smart metering by the end of 2010 and
> Set up a timeframe for the rollout of smart metering by 2012
Furthermore a Smart Grids Task Force has been set up involving stakeholders to advise the Commission on policy and regulatory directions at European level.
On the research side the European Commission funds a whole series of projects and horizontal actions bringing together experts from various disciplines and backgrounds to look at obstacles and research needs for the deployment of smart grid technologies. The horizontal actions are
> ICT4SMARTDG: Thematic Network on ICT solutions to enable Smart Distributed Generation
> SEESGEN-ICT: Thematic Network to encourage energy efficiency in SmartGrids