Smart Grids are a key component of the European strategy toward a low-carbon energy future. Growing environmental and energy security concerns represent a major driver for the renovation and improvement of existing energy infrastructure. In this context, Enlargement and Integration countries will have to face substantial investments in the coming years to upgrade and modernise their energy networks towards smart power grids.
Wind and solar electricity retain the greatest potential to contribute and increase the shares of renewable electricity production; however, current electricity transmission and distribution systems do not generally appear adequate to reliably cope with large-scale penetration of such variable renewables based generating plants (whether centralised or distributed). Significant investments will need to be mobilized. Most energy investments are long life and capital intensive, therefore investment decisions taken now will have an impact for many years. When planning the electricity system of the future, it is necessary to adopt an integrated approach to assess the interrelated physical, environmental, cyber, social, economic and policy challenges where a fair allocation of short term costs and long term benefits among different players is a precondition for reducing uncertainties and incentivize investments.
In this context the workshop will discuss how these developments can provide examples and opportunities for E&I countries to build smart grids and will present and discuss approaches and methodologies for cost – benefit analysis that should include all the costs and benefits that smart grid projects can bring to the energy system at large and to society. The workshop will discuss the impacts of smart grids not only in monetary terms, but also through the identification of externalities and social impacts that can result from the implementation of Smart Grid. The workshop will benefit from the on-going experience in Enlargement and Integration Countries on smart grid developments.