Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge: Demonstration in real user environments are needed in system integration, services, tools, network synchronisation, co-ordination schemes, business models, cost-benefit analyses, market architectures and rules and in regulatory regimes to plan, build, monitor, control and safely operate end-to-end networks which have increased operational flexibility that allow for a cost-effective integration of intermittent distributed generation and active demand. Smart grids and smart metering require the support from an ICT infrastructure with stringent requirements on e.g. availability and low latency. Different options are possible, in particular whether to exploit as much as possible the telecommunication infrastructure and its future developments, or whether to develop specific telecommunication infrastructure to cover parts of the architecture. In both cases, important investments need to be made and cost-effectiveness should be one of the main drivers. There is no conclusive analysis of the various options and whether dual-use of telecommunication networks would allow savings for consumers versus deploying a parallel infrastructure. The challenge also covers synergies with other types of energy networks (gas, and heating or cooling).


Interoperability is critical for a robust and sustainable grid architecture and needs to be demonstrated (e.g. through standards, protocols, regulatory framework).


Scope: Integrating and validating solutions to grid challenges concentrating on field demonstration of system integration. Preparing first replication of the solutions in different contexts and/or cities integrating retail markets, distributed renewable energy, demand response, new business models, advanced ICT. Appropriate market models, business cases, user and general public engagement, regulatory, market up-take, social, environmental and resource efficiency aspects should be included. Opening up demonstration facilities for targeted practice-oriented education and training is encouraged. Life Cycle Analysis and economic assessments should be refined.


Preparing the development of the next generation ICT infrastructure for smart metering and smart grids, analysing capital costs, operational costs, business models and benefits of different options. The analysis has to be done in the context of the present regulatory frameworks (both for energy and telecommunications) in the Member States.


The Innovation Actions should focus on:



  1. Development of ICT tools, and integration and innovative use of ICT for smart grid services to be provided in an open and competitive electricity market. This includes services for next generation distributed renewable energy integration and demand response systems. Particular attention is to be given to new market entrants, including ESCOs, aggregators, etc. and to validation of new business models. The Commission considers that a contribution from the EU in the range of 2.5 to 3 million Euro per proposal would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. It is expected that 3 to 4 proposals could be supported. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

  2. Demonstration of innovative solutions (innovative integration of existing technologies into the system) offering services to all actors in the retail markets of the electricity system. The projects should improve medium and low voltage network monitoring and control (intelligent active control, of active/reactive power flows, fault and outage management, automatic control concepts, network synchronisation using for example European GNSS (Galileo) active loads and eventually distributed storage integration) in a secure and economic way. The projects should validate innovative models for local dispatching of distributed generation, and methods and tools for grid asset maintenance and management to mitigate the costs of grid maintenance, replacement and development in the presence of a very large share of renewable generation. The projects should validate distributed renewable energy and demand response systems offering advanced services to all actors in the retail markets of the electricity system (including ESCOs, aggregators, etc.) in order to ensure that all consumers (industry and citizens) will benefit from cheaper prices, more secure, stable grids and low carbon electricity supply. The demand response should be demonstrated in action in the real world, with longer term monitoring in order to validate these new business models. The Commission considers that a contribution from the EU in the range of 9 to 12 million Euro per proposal would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. It is expected that 3 to 4 proposal could be supported. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

  3. Deployment of a flexible architecture for smart metering systems decoupling the metrology part from user functionalities and allowing for smart grid functionalities to be added during system exploitation in a plug and play way. Connection to building management systems (BMS), intelligent appliances, local generation and storage shall also be included. The solutions have to be such that the costs for a prosumer (mono-phased meter + end user functionalities + service provisioning) shall not exceed 100 € for large quantities (such as 10.000 orders). The Commission considers that a contribution from the EU in the range of 2.5 to 3 million Euro per proposal would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. It is expected that 3 to 5 proposal could be supported. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.


All proposals addressing 1, 2 and 3 shall include a part of market uptake measures accelerating the implementation of new policies, market rules, legislation and/or incentives schemes, various tariffs, which shall reduce the overall costs of supplying renewable electricity to end users. Societal research needs to be integrated into the market uptake part, addressing concerns about data security, public acceptance and ensure that citizens see the clear financial benefit.


The Coordination and Support Action: Support from an appropriate ICT infrastructure with stringent requirements on e.g. availability and low latency is essential for large scale deployment of smart grid and smart metering. Different options are possible, in particular whether to exploit as much as possible the telecommunication infrastructure and its future developments, or whether to develop specific telecommunication infrastructure to cover parts of the architecture. In both cases, important investments need to be made. There is however no conclusive analysis on the various options and on whether dual-use of telecommunication networks would allow savings for consumers versus deploying a parallel infrastructure.  In this context, the Coordination and Support Action[1] focusses on the cost benefit analysis of deployment options for smart grids ICT infrastructure. Elements to be considered are reduction of both capital and operational costs, including also innovative business models and benefits for different actors. The analysis should be done in the context of the present regulatory frameworks (both for energy and telecommunications) in the EU Member States and should examine possible distortions in current compensations and incentives towards the different options. The Commission considers that one proposal with a contribution from the EU in the range of 1 million Euro would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.


Expected impact: The proposals are expected to:



  • Demonstrate active demand response in real world environments in commercial operation with active involvement of consumers, aggregators, ESCOs, etc. based on new business models

  • Deliver innovative ICT-based services and tools for even more advanced and high performance solutions

  • Substantially increase the share of micro-generation and renewable generation within the local grid.

  • Opening up new markets for advanced grid technologies and system architectures to foster European industries' competitiveness.

  • Active participation of prosumers, and new players in energy markets.

  • Mitigating capital and operational costs of the grid modernisation required for the energy transition, and minimising environmental impact, thus ensuring lower electricity prices for all. New benefits shall be generated; these benefits be shared in a fair way between all actors, from aggregators to industrial end-users and citizens.

  • Better using scarce resources by maximising the up-scaling and replication of lessons learned from demonstration projects in different Member States and by sharing of knowledge and practices.

  • Accelerating the implementation of new policies, market rules, legislation and/or incentives schemes for smart grids infrastructure

  • Accelerating the deployment of innovations in the electricity grids to lower the cost of smart metering and smart grids deployment and to respond in a timely way to the challenges facing grid operators and users in view of the agreed 2020 objectives.

  • Enabling an open market for services deployment.

  • Developing generic techniques and better using scarce resources by maximising the up-scaling and replication of lessons learned from demonstration projects in different Member States and by sharing of knowledge and practices.


Type of action: Innovation Actions, Coordination and Support Action




[1] This activity directly aimed at supporting the development and implementation of evidence base for R&I policies and supporting various groups of stakeholders is excluded from the delegation to the executive agency and will be implemented by the Commission services.

Record Number: 664853 / Last updated on: 2015-03-25