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[en] Smart grids (SGs) have been widely recognized as an enabling technology for delivering sustainable energy transitions. Such transitions have given rise to more complex government-utility-consumer relationships. However, these stakeholder relationships remain largely under-researched. This paper critically examines and explains the role of incumbent utilities in sustainable energy transitions, using SG developments in China as a case study. We have three major findings. First, China has developed an incumbent-led model for deploying SGs. Second, two incumbents, the major-state-owned grid companies, act as enablers of SG deployment. They are strategic first-movers and infrastructure builders of SGs. They have also developed five types of networks as they increasingly reach out to other state actors, businesses, and electricity consumers. Thirdly, these two grid companies also act as a fundamental block to structural changes in socio-technical regimes. Disincentives to these large existing grid companies coupled with excessive reliance on them to provide public goods have resulted in major weaknesses in China’s incumbent-led model. Our findings have clear policy implications. Innovation in regulating incumbents is needed in order to provide sufficient regulatory incentives for advancing SG developments in China. - Highlights: • We identify an incumbent-led model for SG development in China. • Two state-owned grid companies act as first-movers and infrastructure builders. • They demonstrate incumbent advantages such as financial strength and networks. • But they also act as a fundamental block to realize higher-order SG developments. • Problems include disincentives, inertia, and limited expertise in new services.
[en] Cities are currently undergoing a transformation into the Smart concept, like Smartphones or SmartTV. Many initiatives are being developed in the framework of the Smart Cities projects, however, there is a lack of consistent indicators and methodologies to assess, finance, prioritize and implement this kind of projects. Smart Cities projects are classified according to six axes: Government, Mobility, Environment, Economy, People and Living. (Giffinger, 2007). The main objective of this research is to develop an evaluation model in relation to the mobility concept as one of the six axes of the Smart City classification and apply it to the Spanish cities. The evaluation was carried out in the 62 cities that made up in September 2015 the Spanish Network of Smart Cities (RECI- Red Española de Ciudades Inteligentes). This research is part of a larger project about Smart Cities’ evaluation (+CITIES), the project evaluates RECI’s cities in all the axes. The analysis was carried out taking into account sociodemographic indicators such as the size of the city or the municipal budget per inhabitant. The mobility’s evaluation in those cities has been focused in: sustainability mobility urban plans and measures to reduce the number of vehicles. The 62 cities from the RECI have been evaluated according to their degree of progress in several Smart Cities’ initiatives related to smart mobility. The applied methodology has been specifically made for this project. The grading scale has different ranks depending on the deployment level of smart cities’ initiatives. (Author)
[en] A 1996 European directive put an end on power production and dispatching monopolies in Europe. The distribution grids became essential structures opened to all power producers and suppliers in exchange for the payment of a fee set by an independent regulatory commission. These grids and networks that are strongly interconnected at the European scale have to play with the specificities of each country. For instance the French power demand is strongly correlated with the temperature as most buildings relies on electricity for heating. Another specificity is that each country is free to choose its energy mix and its production means so German mix relies mainly on coal and lignite while France chose nuclear power. Today's grids are challenged because they have to absorb a growing part of renewable energies and they face also the development of auto-consumption. The solution that is looming is the coexistence of large interconnected European grids with small networks whose meshing is at the district scale to satisfy collective production and auto-consumption. (A.C.)
[en] Highlights: • Propose optimal scheduling scheme for smart residential community. • Classify smart residential loads into different categories according to different demand response capabilities. • Reduce the peak load and peak-valley difference of residential load profile without bringing discomfort to the users. • Provide support for the decision of electricity pricing strategy under electric power market development. - Abstract: With the reformation of electric power market and the development of smart grid technology, smart residential community, a new residential demand side entity, tends to play an important role in demand response program. This paper presents a demand response scheduling model for the novel residential community incorporating the current circumstances and the future trends of demand response programs. In this paper, smart residential loads are firstly classified into different categories according to various demand response programs. Secondly, a complete scheduling scheme is modeled based on the dispatch of residential loads and distributed generation. The presented model reduces the cost of user’s electricity consumption and decreases the peak load and peak-valley difference of residential load profile without bringing discomfort to the users, through which residential community can participate in demand response efficiently. Besides, this model can also provide support for the decision of electricity pricing strategies under power market development.
[en] The new energy markets in Europe and the modern technology development leads to dramatic changes in the power markets. Further decentralized developments can be expected looking at the cost development of small-scale generation technologies. Sector coupling with electric transport and electric heating leads to additional opportunities both for self-generation and for grid connected electricity.(author).
[en] Smart energy grids and smart meters are commonly expected to promote more sustainable ways of living. This paper presents a conceptual framework for analysing the different ways in which smart grid developments shape – and are shaped by – the everyday lives of residents. Drawing upon theories of social practices and the concept of informational governance, the framework discerns three categories of ‘information flows’: flows between household-members, flows between households and energy service providers, and flows between local and distant households. Based on interviews with Dutch stakeholders and observations at workshops we examine, for all three information flows, the changes in domestic energy practices and the social relations they help to create. The analysis reveals that new information flows may not produce more sustainable practices in linear and predictable ways. Instead, changes are contextual and emergent. Second, new possibilities for information sharing between households open up a terrain for new practices. Third, information flows affect social relationships in ways as illustrated by the debates on consumer privacy in the Netherlands. An exclusive focus on privacy, however, deviates attention from opportunities for information disclosure by energy providers, and from the significance of transparency issues in redefining relationships both within and between households. - Highlights: • Smart grids generate three key new information flows that affect social relations. • Practice theory can reveal the ways in which households handle/govern information. • Householders show ambivalence about the workings of the different information flows. • Policies should account for the ‘bright’ as well as the ‘dark’ sides of information
[en] Transition to decarbonized energy systems is becoming more attractive with fall of investment costs of renewables and volatile prices and political insecurity of fossil fuels. Improving energy efficiency, especially of buildings and transport, is important, but due to long life of buildings, it will be a slow way of decarbonization. The renewable energy resources are bountiful, especially wind and solar, while integrating them into current energy systems is proving to be a challenge. Solar has reached grid parity making it cheapest electricity source for retail customers in most of the World, creating new prosumer markets. It has started to reach cost parity in sunny countries, and soon solar energy will be cheapest everywhere. The limit of cheap and easy integration for wind is around 20% of yearly electricity generation, while a combined wind and solar may reach 30%. Going any further asks for implementation of completely free energy markets (involving day ahead, intraday and various reserve and ancillary services markets), demand response, coupling of wholesale and retail energy prices, and it involves integration between electricity, heat, water and transport systems. The cheapest and simplest way of increasing further the penetration of renewables is integrating power and heating/cooling systems through the use of district heating and cooling (which may be centrally controlled and may have significant heat storage capacity), since power to heat technologies are excellent for demand response. District cooling is of particular importance to historic cities that want to remove split systems from their facades. In countries with low heat demand water supply system may be used to increase the penetration of renewables, by using water at higher potential energy as storage media, or in dry climates desalination and stored water may be used for those purposes, and reversible hydro may be used as balancing technology. Electrification of personal car transport allows not only for huge increase of energy efficiency, but also, electric cars due to low daily use may be excellent for demand response and even for storage potential, through vehicle to grid technology. Self-driven cars will change way the transport works, decoupling the demand from supply, so that transport supply service may be used for demand response by the power system. Buildings and cities will become important with their high potential for demand response implemented through smart retail markets. That will allow reaching 80% renewable in energy system, but the remaining 20% may be more an uphill battle without technology breakthrough. Long haul freight road transport, aviation and ship transport, as well as some high temperature industrial processes, cannot yet be easily electrified. Biomass, if not used for producing electricity and heat, may cover half of those needs, but the rest will have to come from some other technology. Inductive highways, innovative high energy density batteries and power to synthetic fuels, or so called e-fuels, which may include hydrogen, are all very hot research issues. During the energy transition fossil fuels will continue to be used. Beneficial is to use waste heat from power plants, making cogeneration a rule, and to move from base load towards flexible power plants. That will mean replacing base load coal power plants with flexible gas power plants. That can only happen if the price of gas on European markets is brought into line with other liquid markets, bringing forward the fuel switch, which means diversifying the infrastructure, especially through more floating LNG terminals and South corridor. Croatia is on the right path to transition, starting up investment in nearly zero energy buildings, electrification of transport and having lively wind sector. The highest priorities in the next decade are solarisation, much more district heating and cooling based on renewable energy and waste heat, development of sustainable biomass and biogas sector, and ramping up the electrification of transport, as well as LNG FSRU terminal.(author).
[en] In Europe, energy transition is already in full swing. In the power supply, wind and solar energy play an increasingly important role. The fluctuating feed-in of these often also decentral energy sources can lead to capacity problems at different network levels. Intelligent electrical networks, so called "smart grids", optimally optimize system capacities through ongoing coordination between producers. From a global point of view, the aim is to set a set of measures that meet the most important target parameters for the smart networks: maximum integration of renewable energy sources, maximum security of supply and an optimal functioning of the energy markets in an economically efficient manner. (rössner)
[de]In Europa ist die Energiewende bereits in vollem Gang. In der Stromversorgung spielen Wind- und Sonnenenergie eine immer wichtigere Rolle. Die fluktuierende Einspeisung dieser oft auch dezentralen Energiequellen kann zu Kapazitätsproblemen auf unterschiedlichen Netzebenen führen. Intelligente Stromnetze, so genannte "Smart Grids", nutzen durch laufende Abstimmung zwischen Erzeugern, Verbrauchern und Speichern die Systemkapazität optimal aus und erlauben so ein intelligentes Energiemanagement. Global betrachtet geht es darum, ein Bündel von Maßnahmen zu setzen, das die wichtigsten Zielparameter für die smarten Netze erfüllt: maximale Integration erneuerbarer Energieträger, höchste Versorgungssicherheit und ein volkswirtschaftlich optimales Funktionieren der Energiemärkte. (author)
[en] All the scenarios engage in the fight against climate warming foresee a growing role for electricity. Electricity is a universal energy that can be used for all needs: lighting, heating, transport, electronics... and whose production can be decentralized. The massive replacement of fossil fuel by electricity in transport and heating will generate peaks in demand that only smart grids will be able to manage. A local production of electricity is an asset for limiting the impact of general power failures that are what the public considers as a weakness of electricity. (A.C.)
[en] Highlights: • Current distribution pricing does not meet key regulatory principles. • Expert views informed models of innovative network pricing for a smart grid. • Multiple trade-offs between innovative pricing approaches and regulatory principals. • Higher base costs, per unit charge and general tax facilitate low carbon networks. • Facilitation of data sharing, management and communication is essential. - Abstract: This paper outlines how current distribution network pricing can be revised to enable transition to a smart grid in a low-carbon economy. Using insights from expert interviews, it highlights multiple trade-offs between innovative pricing approaches and regulatory principles which might be resolved by a political decision on how the costs should be recovered or socialised. It then identifies four essentials for a successful implementation of a new mechanism: (i) Closer collaboration between TSO and DNO/DSO concerning local dispatch to improve system efficiency. (ii) Installation of smart meters to collect data providing information about the actual contribution to the grid utilisation of each customer. (iii) Intensified cooperation between supplier and DNO/DSO to pass-through the price signal on the electricity bill. (iv) A legislative framework to facilitate data sharing and data management and communication among network stakeholders – essentially a relaxation of current privacy legislation as an enabler for new approaches to network management, and potentially to reduce costs to the consumer. This suggests the focus for future network pricing should be on services and functions provided by the grid rather than on the commodity power itself.