A smart electricity grid opens the door to a myriad of new applications aimed at enhancing security of supply, sustainability and market competitiveness. Gathering detailed information about smart grid laboratories activities represents a primary need. In order to obtain a better picture of the ongoing Smart Grid developments, after the successful smart grid project survey initiated in 2011, we recently launched a focused on-line survey addressed to organisations owning or running Smart Grid laboratory facilities. The main objective is to publish aggregated information on a regular basis in order to provide an overview of the current facilities, to highlight trends in research and investments and to identify existing gaps.
The first release of this JRC periodic report systematically gathers and disseminates information on the smart grid laboratories active in Europe and beyond. The underpinning survey has been developed by the JRC with the objective of getting a complete overview of all the smart grid technologies operational at laboratory level in the EU and beyond.
The overall feedback was extremely positive and of the highest quality. 26 organisations completed the survey (and several others are contributing and/or expressed the will to join the already ongoing second inventorying exercise) and the information provided has been analysed in an anonymous and aggregated way.
This report aims on the one hand at complementing and on the other hand at going deeper into the other JRC’s periodic publication - the “Smart Grids Projects Outlook 2014” - where the enormous number of smart grid R&D and demonstration projects developed in Europe are analysed.
Periodic (ideally annual) releases of the report are expected, so trends and evolutions can be early identified in the development process and gaps can be targeted in a proactive way. Benefits for participating organisations are numerous, and will become more significant as the inventory grows. The role of the JRC as a neutral data broker guarantees data accuracy, relevance and independence to all participants, while maintaining all confidentiality needs as required in their research works. In addition, higher visibility to all organisations will be provided by means of advertising/internet campaigns.
Clearly, the future inventorying exercises, planned to rely on wider samples and fine-tuned surveys, can even significantly alter the lessons learned via the first exercise. The Smart Grid Laboratory survey was created and launched by the JRC with three main requirements:
The survey has been structured in 3 main sections:
Many research organizations, key industry stakeholders and academia have designed and built their own smart grid laboratories with the aim to perform research activities that will allow the development of smart grid technologies and standards to facilitate its deployment at production scale.
Although gathering detailed information about labs ongoing activities represents a primary need, in reality several barriers prevent the feasibility of such an important process. Firstly, there’s a continuous development of new technologies and standards that make it difficult to keep track of all different evolutions. Secondly, smart grids cover a wide range of areas in very diverse fields, from renewable energy sources to electric vehicles or ICT and communications, making any efforts to compile all the information quite a challenging experience. Thirdly, smart grids involve a significant number of actors, from energy system providers to telecom carriers, equipment manufacturers, standardization bodies, markets, the car industry, prosumers and consumers, thus, severely increasing the difficulty to acquire an overview of what the current situation is at a given moment. In addition, investments to build smart grid lab facilities are considerable, increasing the dispersion of the lab capabilities and locations; in fact, consortiums and collaboration efforts are quite frequent among lab facilities in order to gain leverage in shared infrastructure and knowledge and reduce the load of having a single facility covering all areas. Finally, different world areas work with different technologies and standards, adding substantial complexity to the effort of gathering information and processing data.
Having in mind all the above reasons the JRC, through the Energy Security Systems and Market Unit, has identified the availability of a repository of smart grid lab facilities and activities as a key target for accurately listing the available technologies and standards that form part of the current smart grid state-of-the-art. It will provide additional value to the existing inventory of smart grid projects in Europe. The combination of the two inventories is necessary in order to get a full picture of the current state-of-the-art and trends in the available technologies and an assessment of which standards are more employed.
As a first step, we had drafted the following questionnaire, which has been sent to appropriate organizations, but it may also be completed voluntarily by other interested institutions. The questions cover a wide range of the smart grid activities and are organized in the most possible effective and straightforward way. An interesting functionality is the possibility of allowing participating organizations to make some/all information accessible to other parties or to the general public. By doing so, organizations might improve their visibility, might enhance collaboration opportunities with other organizations and might benefit from having a global overview of what the other organizations are doing.
Although you can submit your contribution without having an account, we highly recommend you to create one. Having one will allow you to easily access and edit your contribution at any time (without an account it will be more difficult to edit your contribution after submission). You can create either an ECAS account (recommended) or an EUSurvey account by visiting this link.
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For suggestions, questions and other requests please contact us at: JRC-IET-SGL-INVENTORY@ec.europa.eu