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IRENA Paper Explores Smart-Grid Deployment

IRENA11 December 2013: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has published a working paper that offers guidance to, and a set of strategies for, regulators, utilities and policy-makers on ramping up the deployment of smart grids to enable more uptake of renewables. 

“Smart Grids and Renewables– A Guide for Effective Deployment” offers a comprehensive overview of smart-grid technologies applicable to renewables, and in particular of those which can be used with highly variable renewable energies such as solar and wind. The paper notes that, by incorporating communications technologies into electricity generation, delivery and consumption, smart grids “minimise environmental impact, enhance markets, improve reliability and service, and reduce costs and improve efficiency.”

In addition to the technology overview provided, the authors designed the paper to function as a "user's guide" on facilitating the rollout of these technologies on the ground, offering a systems approach to doing so by discussing the: importance of demonstration projects; evaluation of specific technology requirements for different renewable energy penetration levels; development of a business case beyond costs; leveraging of private investments; the role of innovation and technological change; the need to recognize and respond to inertia within the electricity sector; and the importance of regulation associated with data ownership, grid security issues, standards, and the role of new private sector grid players. [Publication: Smart Grids and Renewables– A Guide for Effective Deployment]