Smart Grid Projects Outlook 2017

In summary

This report presents the latest analyses and insights from the most comprehensive database of smart grid projects across the European Union (EU) Member States. This rolling review, carried out on a periodical basis by the European Commission Directorate-General Joint Research Centre (JRC) - in tight cooperation with the Directorate-General for Energy - builds upon the previous two smart grid project inventorying exercises published since 2011a.

This study goes hand in hand with brand new interactive visualisation tools allowing the user to generate customisable maps, graphs and charts to track progress on smart grid projects realised in the EU Member States, plus Switzerland and Norway.

The current edition of the survey includes a total of 950 smart grid projects, launched from 2002 up until today, amounting to €5 billion investment. Strong differences exist between Member States in the number of projects and the overall level and pace of investment. Private investment is clearly the most important source of financing of smart grid projects, but European and national funding play an important role in leveraging private finance and incentivising investment. Distribution system operators (DSOs) are the stakeholders with the highest investment, but non-traditional actors such as public institutions and other emerging stakeholders are steadily increasing their investment in the field. The domains with highest investment are smart network management, demand-side management and integration of distributed generation and storage, together accounting for around 80 % of the total investment. Many projects however address several domains at the same time to investigate and test the systemic integration of different solutions.

Data collection for the 2017 inventory

This report is based on the analysis of the projects included in the updated version of the JRC database of smart grid projects. The JRC started its data collection effort in 2010 with the launch of a survey that collected quantitative and qualitative data about smart grid projects in Europe. The first smart grid projects outlook was released in 2011 (Giordano, Gangale, Fulli, & Sanchez Jimenez, 2011) and updated twice, in 2013 (Giordano, et al., 2013) and 2014 (Covrig, et al., 2014).

In 2016 we started a new data collection exercise, with the launch of a revised online questionnaire. Although the online survey is an important tool to get first-hand information directly from project partners, much of the information on the projects included in the 2017 database was retrieved through an active search by our multilingual team. The main sources of information were the websites of the projects (where they existed) and of the participating organisations. We also searched and analysed scientific articles and dissemination and communication material, and, when necessary, we contacted the leading project partners to verify the information collected. In some Member States, contacts with national authorities and funding institutions proved to be a very useful channel through which to collect data. Another important source of information for projects co-funded by the European Union was the Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) website, the European Commission’s primary portal for results of EU-funded R & D and demonstration projects. We also reviewed the information publicly available through two EU co-funded initiatives on smart grids, i.e. GRIDinnovation online and ERA-Net smart grid plus.

Projects were included in the database only when, by comparing several sources of information, the retrieved data were deemed to be sufficient and reliable. The report only shows data up to the year 2015; the aggregations for 2016 were not included in the analysis as they cannot be considered final due to the delay with which smart grid project proponents tend to communicate the beginning of their R & D and demonstration activities. Projects not included in this edition of the report will be considered for inclusion in the next edition, provided that complete and reliable information is found.

If you want your project to be present in our next edition of the report please fill out our survey here. When you insert your project in the database, you will be asked to create a personal account. At any time it will be possible to update/modify the information regarding your project, logging in the database with your given credentials.

Click on the icons below to download the report and database, see more information or access interactive maps and charts


Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged. 
How to cite this report: Gangale F., Vasiljevska J., Covrig F., Mengolini A., Fulli G., Smart grid projects outlook 2017: facts, figures and trends in Europe, EUR 28614 EN, doi:10.2760/15583

This work cannot be directly paralleled with the preceding smart grid project reports for the following reasons: some older projects for which sufficient information was not available in the previous years have been now added (we noticed that some projects tend to be promoted later in their lifetime or even after their completion); some other projects faced modifications during their execution (in terms of budget, end dates etc.) and therefore have had to be duly updated.

2011 Edition

2012 Edition

2014 Edition

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