By Elza Holmstedt Pell | see original article at EurActiv.com
A transition to an intelligent electricity grid in Europe can take place without smart meters, industry players have said, in comments that will embarrass the European Commission, which pushed a Europe-wide plan to roll out smart meters years ago.
There are other more efficient ways than smart meters to help develop intelligent power grids, said industry delegates at the annual convention of Europe’s electricity association Eurelectric, held in Vilnius last week.
These include quicker integration of renewables, the development of energy storage and energy demand response solutions, said the industry representatives.
The actual benefits of smart meters were also questioned at the conference, as several member states have done previously. Germany, for instance, has decided not to have a national roll-out plan at all, running counter to requirements laid out in EU legislation.
80% roll-out target
EU member states are required to implement smart meters under the 2009 Third Energy Package wherever it is cost-effective to do so, with the goal to replace 80% of electricity meters with smart meters by 2020.
The 80% target applies to both households and commercial buildings, a Commission spokesperson confirmed. The EU executive will publish in the next one to two years a report on smart meters “in the context of our regular monitoring exercise of the progress of members states,” the spokesperson said.
But progress has been sluggish, with few countries having completed their roll-outs and a number of nations – most notably Germany – having so far decided against a nation-wide deployment of smart meters.
And the countries that do have a commitment to smart meters, such as the UK, have run into hurdles in completing its roll-out because some meters would cease to work if a consumer decided to change energy supplier.
Markus Merkel, a senior advisor to the management board of German distribution system operator (DSO) EWE, told the Eurelectric conference that “there isn’t a positive business case” for smart meters in Germany.
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