ADDRESSing European energy needs

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A revolution is set to occur in the world of European energy delivery. The ADDRESS European project, funded to the tune of EUR 9 million by the EU, aims to provide European citizens with the next evolution in energy delivery through the development of smart energy grids of the future. These grids will give consumers for the first time the ability to actively participate in energy delivery, choosing when they consume their energy as well as giving them the opportunity to supply energy into the energy grid.

Imagine a world which is more sustainable, a world in which houses are equipped with solar panels and where their inhabitants only use as much energy as they need. What’s more, any energy they produce and don’t use could then be sold to other users. Well imagine no more, the technologies are just around the corner.

ADDRESS is a European project and stands for the ‘Active Distribution networks with full integration of Demand and distributed energy RESourceS’. Its aim is to deliver a comprehensive commercial and technical framework for the development of ‘Active Demand’ in the smart grids of the future.

In other words, the traditional consumers of energy would become active participants in the energy market. Active demand refers to the ability to be able to interact with the network and save on the energy bill on a voluntary and contractual basis. Consumers will be able to inform themselves as to the price and the network’s demand of energy in real time (30 minute blocks). This empowers consumers to decide whether to consume, or to shift consumption to hours with a lower price. They could even decide to reduce their consumption by disconnecting some domestic appliances.

Perhaps most inspirational is the ability for private consumers to generate energy autonomously for their own private consumption and to feed it into the network and sell it to others. These people will no longer be considered consumers in the traditional sense of the word, instead they are prosumers. Prosumers are customers who both consume and produce electricity with a proactive behaviour.

ADDRESS is an ambitious project combining 25 partners from 11 European countries spanning the entire electricity supply chain, qualified R&D bodies and manufacturers. Their efforts will be coordinated by ENEL Distribution. The project is expected to last for four years and cost EUR 15.72 million, of which EUR 9 million is being provided by the EU.

The project comes at a crucial point in time, where Information and Communication Technologies are at a stage of development where dreams can be realised and new opportunities delivered.

The vision of ADDRESS conforms and runs parallel to the vision of the European SmartGrids Technology Platform. According to this, future Electricity Networks must be flexible, fulfilling the customers’ needs whilst responding to the changes and challenges ahead. All networks must also be fully accessible granting connection access to all network users as well as being reliable, assuring and improving security and quality of supply.

Today’s grids are outdated and in need of an urgent make-over. They are based on a vertically integrated scheme with centralised generation – such as a single huge energy plant, and a distributed consumption network. As it stands there is limited cross-border interconnections and the grids suffer from different regulatory and commercial networks. These characteristics are not sufficient to meet the challenges of the future which envision further market liberalisation occurring in the energy sector.

The ADDRESS project is a timely development that offers a coherent and coordinated approach to avoid redundant efforts and foster devices standardisation in the development of the networks of the future.

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