The European power sector is undergoing a period of rapid transformation. Power generation has become progressively cleaner, more distributed and renewable. Wind power and solar photovoltaics have formed the greatest part of this trend and will continue to dominate in the future. As these sources increase in market share, so too will the variability of the supply-side of the power system. In parallel, power systems have become increasingly digitalised and interconnected with other sectors. Information and communication technology (ICT) and ‘big data’ have opened new possibilities in the active management of power systems via smart devices and appliances, which will strengthen the ability of the demand-side to react to variability of supply.
Demand-side flexibility (DSF) is expected to provide substantial benefits to European power systems. As a resource, DSF can improve environmental performance, cost-effectiveness and reliability of networks. DSF can enable larger shares of variable renewable energy sources (vRES) to be integrated in the generational mix; for instance, by managing periods of Solar PV over-supply by increasing demand and storing energy in Electric Vehicles. In addition, DSF can displace carbon-intensive ‘peak’ power generation and avoid the construction of additional network capacity to cope with demand to reduce overall system costs.
EU legislative proposals are poised to take this a step closer. The Clean Energy for all Europeans Package contains new provisions for active consumers, demand aggregation, retail and network tariffs, smart meters, and clarifications on roles and responsibilities for energy actors. These provisions could support a transformation in the flexibility of the demand-side and how consumers use energy.
Standards offer the technical foundation for this transition. They act as powerful tools within the Single Market to strengthen interoperability for millions of devices, reduce the risk of stranded assets, avoid market fragmentation and guarantee minimum functionality. Standards define how technologies function and interoperate within homes and buildings, which will influence the favourability of the technology among consumers, environmental performance of the power grid and ultimately, the evolution of the market.
Our new publication on the role of standards in the clean energy transition is available here.