Information and communication technology (ICT) enabled 'smart energy' will be used to replace wasted 'dumb energy.'
This technology will enable consumers to monitor their energy consumption and enable suppliers to address demand more efficiently. ICT will enable a smarter two-directional power grid.
The Communication 'Energy 2020 - A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy' adopted by the European Commission has called for initiatives to address energy efficiency, technology and infrastructure. Adoption of smart metering systems has helped in significant reduction of household energy consumption. Adoption of smart electricity grids may help reduce the EU energy sector’s consumption by 9%, which will lead to potential reduction in CO2 emissions by 9% to 15%. It will help reduce wasteful excess capacity by matching supply with demand. The smart grid will facilitate better integration of renewable energy sources with erratic generation.
Smart metering systems along with other technologies will enable adjustment of energy usage dynamically. Lighting in a room may be adjusted according to the activities and heating may be switched on only if it is occupied.
Numerous projects are addressing the challenges towards a smart grid. The SmartGrids ERA-Net project aims to develop a 'Smart European Electrical Infrastructure.' The 'Future Internet for Smart Energy' project aims for a smart integration between information and energy through the Internet. The 'Internet of Energy for Electric Mobility' project intends to develop software, middleware and hardware for effective connectivity and interoperability with electric grids.
The 'Intelligent Electrical Grid Sensor Communications' project focuses on using power lines for transmission of electricity and data. The 'ICT Roadmap for Energy Efficient Neighbourhoods' project works towards creation of energy efficient communities.
These and other projects have been funded under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for research.