Energy management and smart grids: towards smarter, more sustainable energy


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Energy management has become a major issue in a world where growing demand and environmental challenges call for innovative solutions. Smart grids are at the heart of this transformation, enabling more efficient and flexible energy management. By integrating cutting-edge technologies to optimize consumption, integrate renewable energies and improve network reliability, smart grids are revolutionizing the way energy is produced, distributed and consumed. To help you find your way around and make the right decisions, discover our smart city guide.

I. What are the challenges of Energy Management and Smart Grids for cities and regions?

Optimizing the city’s energy consumption

Smart grids enable more efficient management of electricity demand, reducing consumption peaks and improving energy efficiency.

The Linky project in France, with the deployment of smart meters, enables consumers to monitor their consumption in real time and adapt their habits. Some suppliers offer dynamic tariffs to encourage consumption during off-peak hours.

Integrating renewable energies into the landscape

Smart grids facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, by balancing variations in production.

In Germany, the SINTEG (Schaufenster intelligente Energie) project has demonstrated how smart grids can effectively manage the intermittency of renewable energies, which account for a significant proportion of the country’s energy mix.

Reducing energy costs for sustainable cities

By optimizing the production and distribution of electricity, smart grids can reduce costs for suppliers and consumers alike.

In the United States, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s GridWise project has shown that the use of smart grids can reduce consumers’ electricity bills by an average of 10%.

Improving the reliability of vville’s energy supply service

Smart grids enable rapid detection of faults and more efficient restoration of service, increasing the resilience of the power grid.

In Italy,Enel ‘s smart grid management system has reduced the average duration of power cuts from 49 minutes in 2001 to 41 minutes in 2019.

Active consumer participation in the city’s energy management

Consumers can become prosumers, i.e. producers and consumers of electricity, thanks to home energy management technologies.

In the UK, the Smart Energy Islands project on the Isles of Scilly enables residents to produce and share their own renewable energy thanks to an intelligent energy management system.

II. Smart grid components for better city energy management

Energy management

Energy management in smart grids aims to optimize the production, distribution and consumption of electricity. The technologies used maximize energy efficiency and minimize costs and emissions. This includes advanced systems to monitor and adjust energy flows in real time, ensuring a stable balance between supply and demand.

Energy storage

Energy storage plays a crucial role in stabilizing power grids, particularly with the integration of renewable energy sources. Storage solutions, such as batteries, enable excess energy produced during periods of low demand to be stored and redistributed when demand increases, ensuring a continuous, reliable supply.

Connectivity and communication

Connectivity and communication are essential to the operation of smart grids, enabling data to be collected and analyzed in real time. Advanced communication technologies and intelligent sensors facilitate proactive and efficient network management, improving responsiveness and resilience to demand variations and incidents.

Energy distribution network management

Network management in smart grids encompasses the supervision, control and optimization of electrical infrastructure. This includes preventive maintenance techniques, fault management and improving network resilience. Thanks to these practices, smart grids can offer more reliable and efficient energy distribution, while integrating renewable energy sources seamlessly.

III. 3 examples of successful Smart Grid implementations with a positive impact on local energy consumption

EcoGrid EU project (Bornholm, Denmark)

The EcoGrid EU project on the Danish island of Bornholm aims to demonstrate a Smart Grid solution for managing an electricity system with over 50% renewable energies. This includes wind, solar, biomass, biogas and cogeneration, as well as energy storage technologies such as heat pumps, district heating and electric vehicle batteries. Among Bornholm’s 28,000 electricity customers, 2,000 resident consumers participate in this flexible demand, equipped with demand response devices with intelligent controllers.

These devices enable customers to respond to prices in real time, and program their own automatic demand response preferences. The project also offers a real-time market and information architecture that enables small local energy users and producers to provide additional ancillary services to the Transmission System Operator (TSO).

Kaw hybrid power plant (French Guiana)

The project is a test of a smart solar district in the isolated village of Régina Kaw, in French Guiana. It integrates significant local photovoltaic production and electricity storage solutions, with 2,500 advanced meters. Due to fuel supply difficulties and increasing electricity requirements, a 35 kWp photovoltaic power plant was built in 1983 and closed in 2003. In 2009, after the plant had been closed for several years, the Region, the Department, ADEME and EDF SEI decided to build a new, more modern, more powerful power plant that would meet the requirements of managed, sustainable development, located in the heart of the Kaw nature reserve.

It’s a 100 kWp hybrid plant with an 80 kVA thermal complement and a storage capacity of 1,250 kWh. This new installation, located in a nature reserve, uses inverters to manage solar energy and battery storage, ensuring a continuous power supply and reducing diesel fuel consumption. The project, aimed at providing sustainable and reliable energy, was funded by several partners and public bodies for a total of 1,859,000 euros.

Nice Grid (Nice)

The Nice Grid project has set up a smart solar district on the Var plain in Carros, integrating significant local photovoltaic production, electricity storage solutions, 2,500 Linky meters and consumption modulation mechanisms. It aimed to optimize the operation of the power grid with a strong renewable component, encourage consumers to become active players in their energy consumption, test the energy autonomy of an area and explore business models for Smart Grids.

This five-year project, involving 10 partners and funding of 30 million euros, tested innovations such as islanding, energy storage at different levels of the grid, and flexible demand management. The results showed significant reductions in peak consumption, increased solar use in summer, and satisfaction among participants, while highlighting the complexity and technological and economic challenges of these solutions.

IV. The Linky energy meter in France: a smart grid project that does not meet with unanimous approval

Although the Commission de régulation de l’énergie (CRE) considers the installation of the Linky meter to be a “great industrial success”, this view is far from unanimous.

35 million energy meters in France, deployed by Enedis

Enedis succeeded in installing 35 million smart meters across France, keeping to the original schedule despite the health crisis and saving 700 million euros over the budget.

Is an energy sensor or meter hazardous to health?

However, opposition from numerous anti-Linky groups has prevented some devices from being commissioned, and persistent controversy has accompanied the rollout. Criticism of Enedis is rife. The courts recently ordered the dismantling of Linky meters for people suffering from electrohypersensitivity, following concerns about the electromagnetic waves emitted by these devices, suspected of causing headaches, nausea, dizziness and muscle pain.

Despite reports from the French National Health and Safety Agency downplaying these risks, doubts persist. The consumer associationUFC-Que Choisir also criticizes the “failures in the installation of the Linky meter” and the abandonment of the remote display, which would have enabled consumers to monitor their consumption in real time.

Technical failures and negative user perceptions

Enedis, which is often accused of going through the motions, accumulates errors without being held to account. Numerous malfunctions have been reported following Linky installation: faulty electrical appliances, internet box failures, and untimely power cuts. A call for testimonials by UFC-Que Choisir revealed that a quarter of Linky-equipped households have experienced real malfunctions. What’s more, 69% of participants believe that the meter is useless to them. In addition, Enedis is often accused of not taking responsibility for problems arising from the installation of meters, blaming users for faults.

Demands linked to the working conditions of Linky energy meter installers

Installers’ working conditions exacerbate these problems. Some mention contradictory instructions and the haste of deployment, leading to frequent errors and unacceptable situations, such as power cuts without warning.

A perceived high cost for the Linky energy meter

Finally, despite promises of savings, the high cost of the Linky meter and the many health and technical concerns cast a shadow over its real profitability and safety for consumers. In short, although the Linky project has positive aspects, it remains marred by numerous controversies and malfunctions, calling into question its overall success.

V. What are the budget and costs for an intelligent energy management or smart grid project?

Components of an energy management or smart grid project budget

Implementing a smart grid project and reducing energy consumption in a city involves a complex cost structure. Here is a detailed breakdown of the cost items for city energy:

Intelligent infrastructure (40% of total budget) :

  • Smart meters
  • Sensors
  • Data management systems

Local renewable energy sources (30% of expenditure) :

  • Solar panels
  • Wind turbines
  • Other clean energy technologies

Operating costs (20% over the long term) :

  • Equipment maintenance
  • Staff training
  • Data management and analysis

Energy efficiency programs (10% of funds) :

  • Public awareness campaigns
  • Energy-saving initiatives
  • Incentives for the adoption of energy-efficient technologies

This distribution optimizes the use of city energy, reducing the community’s overall energy bill and carbon footprint. In France, there are a number of schemes for financing local projects, such as the ” Action coeur de ville” scheme.

Examples of European Smart Grid project budgets

City/ProjectTotal budgetNumber of Sensors/DevicesTypes of technology usedRemarks
EcoGrid EU (Bornholm)21 million euros2,000 smart metersDemand management, renewable integrationEU-funded project
Kaw hybrid power plant (French Guiana)1.85 million euros2500 advanced metersRenewable energies, storage, demand managementFinanced by the French government(FACÉ), Europe(FEOGA) and the commune of Régina.
Nice Grid~30 million euros2,500 Linky advanced meterssmart meters, load shedding and load modulation solutions, management of electricity consumption and productionThe project is part of the European Grid4EU project
Linky (France) by Enedis~4 billion euros35 million metersSmart electricity metersConsumer resistance and controversy. A project not unanimously supported

VI. Smart Grid and Energy Consumption Reduction Players in Cities and Territories

Energy distribution players and network management

ActorProposed solutionsExamples of Contributions
SiemensSolutions for network automation and managementSCADA systems, cybersecurity solutions
CiscoCommunication infrastructure for smart gridsConnectivity solutions, cybersecurity
ABBNetwork technology providerEnergy management solutions, network automation

Connectivity, communication and cybersecurity players for the smart grid

ActorProposed solutionsExamples of Contributions
EnelNetwork operator and energy supplierDeployment of smart meters, integration of renewable energies
EDFElectricity generation and distributionSmart grid projects, renewable energy management, smart meters
National GridNetwork managerNetwork modernization projects, integration of renewable energies

Energy storage players

ActorProposed solutionsExamples of Contributions
TeslaEnergy storage solutionsBatteries for domestic and industrial storage, electric vehicles

Players in the management and optimization of energy consumption

ABBNetwork technology providerEnergy management solutions, network automation
Schneider ElectricEnergy management and automationEnergy management systems, intelligent building solutions
DeepkiESG strategy based on data intelligenceAccelerating the environmental transition in real estate
LemonConsulting and Big Data Platform to enhance your performance Energy transition for buildings
AdvizeoMaximize energy savings on your assetsCollects, manages and analyzes energy consumption data

A summary of energy and the smart grid for cities and regions

Smart grids represent an essential step towards smarter, more sustainable energy management. Successful implementation relies on a combination of advanced technology, political support and active consumer participation. What’s more, as is often the case in smart cities, approaches vary widely, as do solution budgets.

This is also the case for intelligent parking sensors. Ultimately, with the right investment and effective coordination, smart grids can transform the way we produce, distribute and consume energy.


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Aide au controle

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Guidage à la place

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L'appli Cocoparks

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Collaboration et gestion des arrêtés

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Optimisation du stationnement

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Observatoire analytique du stationnement

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Control assistance

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In-place guidance

Provide a visible daily service for your customers

Cocoparks app

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Collaboration and management of orders

Save time and improve quality to transform roadways

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