The energy transition is reshaping the energy landscape:

  • Energy uses are changing: positive-energy buildings, electric vehicles, variable-intensity street lighting, storage batteries, etc.
  • Energy systems are becoming more complex as intermittent renewable sources come online, with production happening in decentralised locations and to patterns that do not reflect people’s routines.

These changes can cause a disconnect between electricity supply and demand and require larger investment in stable grids and production methods (especially fossil fuels).

Smart Grids can be used to manage existing grids in a more efficient, dynamic way, from production to the consumer, using new information and communication technologies. The result is a more predictive, communicative and controllable electricity system.

The ultimate aim is to have flexible grids that can adapt better to the behaviours and actions of all connected users (producers, consumers and users who are both), providing a low-cost way to synchronise production and consumption while paving the way for efficient integration of clean, economical technologies (renewables, electric vehicles, etc.).

Source : French Energy Regulator, Smart Grids website

Features of current grids

  • Analogue
  • One-way
  • Centralised production
  • Only partly communicative
  • Load balancing
  • Consumer

Features of smart grids

  • Digital
  • Two-way
  • Decentralised production
  • Fully communicative
  • Load balancing based on demand/consumption
  • Environmentally conscious consumer

A future sector of the energy transition, creating local value and jobs

Smart grids are one of the key areas of focus of the “New Face of Industry in France” plan, which aims to create 25,000 jobs and generate €6 billion of revenue in mainland France by 2020.

This high-potential market is attracting manufacturers, grid operators and innovators alike. In the current competitive climate, the cluster is seeking to bolster the position of its member businesses and support their growth in this sector, both in France and abroad. Capenergies represents competitiveness clusters within the national Think Smart Grids association (formerly known as Réseaux électriques intelligents – Smart-grids France). The cluster led the pilot scheme in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region for Premio, the first fully working Smart Grids demonstrator in France, and certified pioneering projects (NICE GRID, CITY OPT, INFINIDRIVE, etc.) that are now helping PACA make a name as one of France’s leading regions in this field.

The cluster is currently working on two large-scale initiatives:

Les Réseaux Electriques Intelligents, Smart Grids

The Flexgrid regional programme

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Les Réseaux Electriques Intelligents, Smart Grids,

The Smart Campus Nice Sophia Antipolis

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