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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds I’m Carmen Gimeno, Secretary General of GEODE. GEODE is a European association representing the interest of local energy distributors both for electricity and gas across Europe. Our association, we have at the moment around 100 members, they are both single companies and national associations which means that all together we represent around 1200 companies and utilities.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds Well, I think it’s clear we are in a transition in the energy sector, the energy field. I think that the EU goals both for climate and energy are leading us to a transformation of the energy system mainly because of the increase of the renewable energy. It means we are moving from a centralised energy system to a decentralized energy system. These smart grids, we need them to face all the challenges of this energy system transformation. In the digitalization, I would say, this is also linked to the flexibility which is needed to operate and to keep grid stability and reliability in the terms we have now, with the new challenges.

Skip to 1 minute and 59 seconds There are many differences across Europe when it comes to retail energy, electricity, in this case, we are talking electricity markets. We always say about this principle that “One size doesn’t fit all.” We have 28 member states and the speed and the developments and also the impact of this new challenges are very different across Europe, that’s the first point. Also the reason and the time when the Smart Metering deployment started in different member states. If you take Sweeden, which is considered the first country where Smart Meters where deployed, in that case, the reason was to introduce changes in the billing. The reading was only once a year, and they wanted to introduce some changes.

Skip to 2 minutes and 52 seconds So they installed these Smart Meters but the functionalities were very reduced. They finalized the roll out, complete roll out in the country already in 2009. If you compare that with the third energy package, which was published and adopted in 2009 which was the first time that there was an obligation to further deployment of Smart Meters by 2020; well you see that there are lots of differences. We have countries like The UK that will finalised by 2020, Spain 2018, Norway 2019… There are many countries that are still in the process.

Skip to 3 minutes and 37 seconds So this creates a lot of variety, also in the functionalities, because there are countries where there’s an obligation to fulfil only certain functionalities, minimum functionalities, others with more, let’s say concrete functionalities, now we have the proposal from the commission, which will oblige for certain minimum principals, but in fact they are functionalities. So there are very different situations. And also countries which still, like Germany for instance, they’ve already stated that their roll out will be finished by 2032 and not for all, 100% or 80% of the citizens in that country.

Skip to 4 minutes and 25 seconds All the leaders are the Scandinavian countries because they already have some experience so they are starting to develop other services beyond the meters, which is not the case in other countries.

Skip to 4 minutes and 40 seconds On the contrary, on data access, again, we have different models across Europes to try to classify into three models. You have a centralized data hub, in this case, run by the transmission system operator (TSO). This is a model that the first country to develop it was Denmark for instance. And now they other Scandinavian countries are following, it’s the case of Norway, its called Elhub. And Sweden and Finland are still in discussions but is very likely that they will follow this model. Finland almost for sure. Then we have another possibility, either decentralized or centralized data hub, in this case opertated by the distribution system operator (DSO). This is the case for instance in Austria and also in Belgium for example.

Skip to 5 minutes and 43 seconds And with some particularities also in The Netherlands. And then there is a third model, which is a data hub run by an independent market actor. This is the case for instance of The UK. However whatever the model is, the shared principal, and this is now also included in the commission proposal, is that every third party should have access to the data, of course with the consumer consent, to develop the needed market services. This should be a shared principle, together with neutrality, transparency of the information, security, data protection, et cetera. But the different models have advantages and disadvantages, but there’s not, at European level, a concrete model planted out as an obligation.

Skip to 6 minutes and 43 seconds They might support the commission’s approach not to impose a model because different models can be valid. If, first, certain principles are ensured, the way to share data, that’s clear. And then second you need a regulatory framework that provides not just those models but many others elements that will allow the development of new services into the market. This is clear, from consumer engagement, probably new models of tariffs, for sure, to then maybe how to develop this local energy markets, something that is now very much discussed, to allow this flexibility, this services into the local market more at the distribution level, which is closer to the consumers, you should be able to access either directly or indirectly through aggregators there.

Skip to 7 minutes and 54 seconds The opening of the market to aggregators in all markets.

Skip to 8 minutes and 3 seconds The impact of the Smart Meter roll out for a distributor of course it’s a huge investment that’s the first thing. Not in every country, not every national regulator has recognized these as part of the investments made by our distributor system operator. There have been different discussions here.

Skip to 8 minutes and 33 seconds And also you are investing not only in the meters but in general on all these smart technologies, smart investments in a city are investments in innovation, the risks are much higher than a conventional infrastructure of a DSO. Now we are talking about technologies, smart meters for maybe 10, 15 years maybe even shorter, because technology moves really fast. This creates challenges to the DSOs, also challenges in the skills of the employees, the staff, many more ICT experts are needed in the energy companies. So well, this comes all along, really it’s sort of a revolution.

Skip to 9 minutes and 31 seconds From being pure grid operators, just taking care of operating the grid, they will evolve into Distribution System Operators. Which has been, to make it easy to understand, sort of a mini Transmissions System Operator of the local grid. They will face more local congestions, somehow they will be obliged to take care of the local balancing of their distribution networks. That’s one important thing. There will be other market players, like the aggregators.

Skip to 10 minutes and 13 seconds Their activities will have an impact as well on the grid. And the active consumers, prosumers, or the local energy communities. There will be many thing changing. 15 years from now, we will see a lot of different ways of operating the grids as we see today.

Meet the expert: From a centralized to a descentralized energy system

Carmen Gimeno is the Secretary General of GEODE, a European association representing the interests of local energy distributors both for electricity and gas. In this interview, she will introduce you to the mix between digitalization and the energy system transition. She will also review the data access in different European countries.

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Smart Grids for Smart Cities: Towards Zero Emissions

EIT InnoEnergy