According to Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU commissioner for research, innovation and science, Europe's first priority is to focus on R&D policy in order to reach the great challenges facing it. Two such challenges, she said, directly relate to the European power system: climate change and energy security. The latter, she said, cannot be realized without a reliable electricity supply.
In late February, InnoGrid2020+(the joint European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity [ENTSO-E], the European Distribution System Operators' Association for Smart Grids, and the GRID+ seminar on R&D dissemination) brought together more than 140 experts from nearly 100 companies, institutions, organizations and EU member state representatives, to discuss the major challenges arising for transmission and distribution grids as a result of the increasing share of variable and decentralized generation and the integration of the energy markets.
One key point arising out of the two-day seminar included the understanding that technologies, equipment and ITC tools need to be developed urgently in order to balance vast amounts of wind and solar generation with consumption in real time, and the deployment of cost-effective smart grid solutions, empowering customers and allowing for demand response as well as for charging electric vehicles.
To help this along, more collaboration on research and development as well as large-scale demonstrations in real working conditions also involving the consumer and regulators are required, seminar attendees felt. Acknowledging the urgency of these issues, Hubert Lemmens, chairman of the ENTSO-E R&D committee, invited stakeholders to further debate them this year with ENTSO-E and EDSO for Smart Grids representatives.