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Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the WiseGRID project will develop a set of nine solutions to improve the electricity grid and empower customers. It promises to make Europe’s electricity grid smarter, open and more customer orientated. This is done by using digital technology to enable a two-way communication between the electricity provider and its customers. The project aims to support provision of cleaner and more affordable energy through improved demand response mechanisms, and greater use of electro-mobility, renewable energy and related storage technologies.

The products include platforms for monitoring and managing infrastructure, applications to support smarter energy use, tools to optimise electric vehicle charging and supply renewable energy, as well as services for marketing unused generation capacity. They target consumers, ‘prosumers’ (people who produce and consume energy) and electric vehicle fleet operators, among other groups.

Real-life demonstrations

WiseGRID’s solutions will be tested and demonstrated for at least 15 months under real-life conditions at four sites in Belgium, Greece, Italy and Spain in cooperation with renewable energy cooperatives and distribution service operators. Demonstrations will involve some 1 700 consumers using energy systems consisting of batteries, heat pumps, solar-, wind- and hydro-power, as well as electric vehicles and charging stations. The project, which started at the end of 2016 will run until April 2020.

Creating jobs and new services

WiseGRID goes beyond empowering consumers. On top of this consumer-centric approach, it aims to help create an open market in which new players such as electric cooperatives and SMEs have an active role. This will make energy a more democratic system, creating a win-win situation for the grid and consumers.

The outcome will be evaluated and a handbook produced with guidance on scaling up the project. Commercialisation of WiseGRID products will create 1 800 jobs, and give 860 000 people and 23 000 organisations access to new services. In the long term, this could save over 20 million megawatt hours of energy and 14 million tonnes of CO2, and contribute to achieving the EU’s target of increasing the share of renewable sources in energy generation to 35% by 2030.