Smart grid technologies are entering a new phase of development. Following initial field experiments in Europe, we are now faced with the question: How can smart grids be put to wider use? On the basis of successful case studies in Austria, Norway and Denmark, the MATCH project investigated the experience gained so far in pilot projects in Austria, Norway and Denmark and made recommendations for further development in Europe.
Our need for energy grows steadily. Renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind are becoming ever more important. Electric infrastructures such as the grid are replacing some of their centrally controlled features with more decentralised ones, thus becoming more flexible, responsive and ‘intelligent’. The MATCH project aimed to identify the necessary changes to ensure efficient and effective implementation of smart grid solutions for small consumers.
The project asks questions such as: Which solutions have already been locally tested and proven effective? How does energy pricing influence the use of alternatives? Is smart grid electricity cost-efficient? What systemic and interaction effects may arise and how do they influence objectives such as affordability, access, reliability and flexibility? What unfavourable outcomes do smart grid technologies show? How can data security and privacy be ensured?
To address these important questions, nine comprehensive case studies were conducted in smart grid demonstration projects in the participating partner regions in Austria, Norway and Denmark. Stakeholder workshops were held to share experiences and the systemic effects of the selected smart grid solutions were investigated using modelling techniques. The project team was composed of researchers, energy supply firms and local energy initiatives.
Previous research has led us to assume that effective solutions are the result of the interactions between regional and national features of already existing energy systems. For example, countries differ in their energy market structures and wider infrastructures. More specifically, the energy mix and the distribution systems can be as important in shaping the direction of energy systems change as the relationships between the actors involved (such as funders, users and suppliers).
Key findings from the MATCH project are:
-> The decarbonisation of the energy system calls for new ways of generating and consuming energy as well as new forms of relations between energy producers and consumers.
-> It is important to understand the complexity of factors influencing the effectiveness and success of smart grid initiatives targeted at small consumers across Europe.
-> It is equally important to assess the impact local solutions have on the whole energy system before applying them widely at regional or national level.
Author: Michael Ornetzeder
-> Die Dekarbonisierung des Energiesystems erfordert neue Wege der Energiebereitstellung, aber auch ein neues Verhältnis zwischen Erzeugern und VerbraucherInnen.
-> Es ist wichtig, die Komplexität der Einflussfaktoren für den Erfolg und die Wirksamkeit von Smart-Grid-Lösungen zu verstehen.
-> Ebenso wichtig ist es, die Auswirkungen lokaler Lösungen auf das gesamte Energiesystem abzuschätzen, bevor sie auf regionaler oder nationaler Ebene breit angewendet werden.
02/2016 - 07/2018