The EU’s 20-20-20 target in the 2007 Energy Policy and the 2009 Third Energy Package has spurred development of the smart grid. To achieve the goal the EU has included the smart grid as one of the region’s seven priority energy technologies in its Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan). To implement the plan the EU set up two initiatives: the European Electricity Initiative (EEI) and European Electricity Grid Initiative (EEGI).
Major EU projects include the ADDRESS (Active Distribution networks with full integration of Demand and distributed energy Resources) to demonstrate active distribution networks and SUSPLAN, which is ‘investigating the development of regional and Pan-European guidelines for more efficient integration of renewable energy into future infrastructures’. Through the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR) (a programme to provide financial support for projects in the energy area which would aid in economic recovery, lower carbon emissions and help to provide a secure energy supply) a total of €2,365 million is available for electricity and gas infrastructure interconnections. Some of which may be used for ‘smart’ interconnection technologies.
A mandate has been introduced requiring 80% coverage with smart meters by 2020 and an entire roll out by 2022. To drive the market member states must conduct an economic assessment of smart metering by 2012.The Third Package of the 2009 Energy Directive on gas and electricity required the implementation of intelligent metering system to assist consumers on the market. In addition the third Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) stipulates that Member States ‘shall encourage the introduction of intelligent metering systems whenever a building is constructed or undergoes major renovation’.
To date the majority of smart grid projects have focused on smart meter deployment. Finland, Sweden and Italy have been early adopters in the smart meter market, followed by France, Spain, the UK and Ireland. Government policies, especially smart meter mandates, are driving growth in the smart meter market. The only country with full scale deployment is Italy, with Enel creating its own business case for early deployment of the technology. In order to ensure consistency a mandate for standardisation of components has been introduced.