Smart Grid technology may not be needed

The transition to an intelligent electricity grid in Europe can take place without smart meters, according to industry players who spoke at the annual Eurelectric conference in Vilnius this week.

Euractiv reports that the news will embarrass the European Commission, which pushed a Europe-wide plan to roll out smart meters years ago.
Smart Grid
More efficient means include quicker integration of renewables, the development of energy storage and energy demand response solutions, said the industry representatives.

The actualà‚ benefits of smart meters were also questioned at the conference,à‚ as several member states have done previously. Germany, for instance, has decided not to have a national roll-out plan at all, running counter to requirements laid outà‚ in EU legislation.

EU member states are required to implement smart meters under the 2009 Third Energy Package wherever it is cost-effective to do so, with the goal to replace 80% of electricity meters with smart meters by 2020.

The 80% target applies to both households and commercial buildings, a Commission spokesperson confirmed. The EU executive willà‚ publish in the next one to two years a report on smart meters “in the context of our regular monitoring exercise of the progress of members states,” the spokesperson said.

Progress had been sluggish across the bloc in installation of the equipment. And theà‚ countries that do have a commitment to smart meters, such as the UK, have run into hurdles in completing its roll-out because some meters would cease to work if a consumer decided to change energy supplier.

Markus Merkel, a senior advisor to the management board of German distribution system operator (DSO) EWE, told the Eurelectric conference that “there isn’t a positive business case” for smart meters in Germany.

Member states are expected to conduct their own cost-benefit analyses for theirà‚ national smart meters roll-out plans, the official said.

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