20 February, Brussels – Only eight countries in the EU have developed implementation plans for the demonstration and use of smart grids, according to a survey by the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER).
Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Luxembourg and Norway have so far published implementation plans, with other countries lagging behind. Most countries have, however, launched demonstration projects and conducted cost-benefit analyses of smart grid deployment, with such actions funded variously by distribution system operators (DSOs), EU funds and from national budgets.
EU law does not require Member States to have created smart grids plans, but States should have performed a cost-benefit analysis of smart metering by September 2012, as set out in the 2009 electricity directive, with roll-out by 2020. Smart metering has so far only been put into use in Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, though introduction is planned in another five countries.
The European Commission’s 2011 policy paper on smart grids noted that smart meter implementation plans, “would also need the development of smart grids and should thus address the required regulatory incentives for [smart grids] implementation”. A number of national authorities identified barriers to smart grid roll-out including high electricity prices and limited network development funds. Other issues included data protection laws, uncertainty about future national plans, and concerns about the integration into the market of electric vehicles.
The European Commission will report on smart grid and net metering progress in the coming months.