Background and context

We work with several customers and partners, on different projects and networks. We are also strengthening cooperation with EU and international stakeholders on smart transmission and distribution grids.

The JRC plays an active role in fostering international and cross-regional networks to help tackle pressing concerns in a harmonised and effective manner. This work is important for promoting knowledge transfer and for establishing international standards, for instance for a common electrified transport system in the whole of Europe and on the other side of the Atlantic, which is also able to incorporate energy from renewable sources.

The JRC has strong partnerships with the Member States not only at national, but also at regional level. It cooperates closely with them to facilitate the establishment of closer links between the European scientific community and the Commission through partnerships with universities, national academies and other umbrella research organisations.

The JRC's partnerships with key industry associations are also crucial as they provide opportunities for exchange on research and technological developments.

More in detail, we work with: European Commission and national policy makers; National governments and agencies; Industrial partners; Research organisations; Academia.

Our international cooperation activities over the last years focused on a few selected countries including USA, Brazil, China, Africa and India.


International cooperation

Learn more about some of our international cooperation initiatives and outputs with US, China, Brazil, India...

2018 - Submarine power cable between Europe and North America: A techno-economic analysis

This article addresses the potential of interconnecting electricity systems to geographically aggregate remotely located variable power sources. Increasing the deployment of power generators using variable renewable power sources, such as wind and solar, brings power balancing challenges in electricity systems. One mean to achieve power balancing and to share balancing resources, is to interconnect.

The article provides insights for electricity trading through a submarine power cable between Europe and the eastern part of North America. While such ambitious power interconnection concepts appear in recent literature, this article is the first to present a techno-economic analyses. This article concludes that, a 4000 MW cable between Europe and North America could bring an annual socio-economic benefit of 177 M€ in 2030. In addition to the differences in generation costs, mutual benefits from electricity trading between Europe and North America derive from different daily peak demand times, low correlation in generation from renewable energy sources, and in seasonal demand variations. The results of the cost-benefit analysis indicate that the benefit for society is sufficient to cover the investment costs. Thus, the proposed interconnector is welfare improving.

2017 - A China-EU electricity transmission link

This report looks at the potential routes for a future power interconnection between EU and China. China has launched in 2016 the idea of transmitting electricity as far as Germany via an Ultra High Voltage Direct Current (UHVDC) link. China intends to exploit its RES from north-eastern regions both for domestic use and for export. The country has the capabilities to project and build long and powerful systems to transmit electricity across the country for thousands of kilometres.

Three route scenarios are considered and analysed, all starting in RES-rich areas in western China and heading towards Europe on three different paths. High voltage direct current technology is considered and its potential is assessed.

The renewable energy sources in the countries along the potential routes as well as the power sector and power grid in the countries crossed are analysed.


2017 - Science for the AU-EU Partnership - Building knowledge for sustainable development

This report focuses on the African dimension of the partnership. It explores the opportunities and challenges arising from the fact that Africa has over twice the population of the EU, is the world’s most youthful continent, has an economy that is growing faster than that of the EU, is almost seven times larger geographically, yet is vulnerable to diverse internal and external stresses.

People, planet, prosperity and peace are four priorities shared by Africa and Europe, and areas where opportunities for beneficial cooperation abound. Over the past three decades, the JRC has worked with many organisations and institutions across Africa.

This report and its accompanying interactive online service ‘Africa StoryMaps’ present the key findings from this collaboration, and set out options the decision-making, research and education communities may consider. Our contribution was mainly centered on the energy systems and infrastructure challenges for Africa.


2016 - Benefit Analysis of Smart Grid Projects: White Paper 2014-2016

This paper, in which the JRC produced the European section, reviews and compares the US, Chinese and European approaches towards assessing benefits of smart grid pilot projects. It analyzes experiences to highlight their differences, advantages, and disadvantages. In the U.S., we assess projects at two sites: the University of California, Irvine campus (UCI); and the Navy Yard (TNY) area in Philadelphia. In China, we cover several smart-grid aspects of the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city (TEC) and the Shenzhen Bay Technology and Ecology City (B-TEC). In Europe, we look at a benefit analysis of a pilot smart grid project in the Malagrotta area west of Rome, Italy.

The Irvine sub-project benefit analyses use the U.S. DOE Smart Grid Computational Tool (SGCT), which is built on methods developed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The TEC sub-project benefit analyses apply Smart Grid Multi-Criteria Analysis (SG-MCA) developed by the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) based on the analytic hierarchy process with fuzzy logic. The B-TEC and TNY sub-project benefit analyses are evaluated using new approaches developed by those project teams. JRC has adopted an approach similar to EPRI's but tailored to the Malagrotta distribution grid.


2014 - Paths Toward Smart Energy: A Framework for Comparison of the EU and China Energy Policy

This paper presents the concept of “smart energy” as a way to embrace the target to meet commitments to the world's sustainability, and performs a comparison of the energy policies of two key-world players, the EU and China, is undertaken in this context.

National decisions and behaviors are strictly interdependent and each of them may affect the whole planet; hence, the harmonization and coordination of the policy are the key issues. This is particularly true in the energy sector, where scarce resources, which are presently unevenly shared by the various nations with the possibility of conflicts arising need to be allocated to keep the pace with economic growth and in a manner compatible with the preservation of the environment. 

A framework for quantitatively assessing the effectiveness of various specific policy tools is proposed. The policies are defined and analyzed with reference to the general goals, the tools to pursue those goals and their outcomes, possibly in a quantitative manner resorting to a set of meaningful metrics.

2014 - Redes Elétricas Inteligentes Diálogo Setorial Brasil-União Europeia

This report is a final product of the Sectorial Dialogue EU-Brazil 2014 in the area of Smart Grids, where JRC is the main EU counterpart.

The document presents an extensive overview of the Smart Grid related activities in Brazil and EU and in particular, covers the following topics: i) Identification of projects in Brazil and Europe in the area of Smart Grids; ii) Information on manufacturers / suppliers of equipment of Smart Grid infrastructure in Brazil and Europe; iii) Identification of public and private institutions in Brazil and Europe, such as: research centers, universities and institutes involved in the area of Smart Grids and iv) analysis of industrial, science and technology policies in Brazil and Europe.

The report addresses relevant issues associated with the smart grid topic in Brazil and EU and provides support for the development of public policies in Science, Technology and Innovation and Industrial policies in Brazil. It is expected that this report, coordinated by the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation will mobilize actions of other government actors as well as business and academics in Brazil.

2012 - Assessing Smart Grid Benefits and Impacts: EU and US Initiatives

This report aims to find common ground between EU and US assessment approaches on Smart Grid projects. This joint work was carried out in the framework of the EU-US Energy Council, which intends to deepen the transatlantic dialogue on strategic energy issues such as policies to move towards low carbon energy sources while strengthening the on-going scientific collaboration on energy technologies.

In the last few years, initiatives on Smart Grids have been growing in number and scope on both sides of the Atlantic. A variety of projects has been deployed throughout Europe and US with different aims and results. Substantial public and private investments have been committed to research and development (R&D), demonstration and deployment activities. At this stage, there is a need to evaluate the outcome of implemented projects and share experiences and lessons learned. Effective project assessment and knowledge sharing is instrumental to prioritize policy initiatives, unlock market investment potentials and instil trust and understanding in consumers.

The report first assesses correspondences among definitions, terminology and methodological approaches, in order to clarify commonalities and differences. Secondly, it tries to strengthen cooperation on assessment frameworks and on sharing data collection experiences, project results and lessons learned.