The electricity transmission and distribution network is an essential link of the national electrical energy system. In its function as a link between the generation and the end user, it is a key enabler of many of the actions aimed at reducing greenhouse/climate-changing gas emissions. Its carrying capacity, management flexibility and ability to adapt to different configurations while maintaining the appropriate level of reliability and availability are key factors for the integration of renewable energy sources and flexibility measures in energy consumption. The current electricity network, designed according to age-old criteria, is suitable for a unidirectional flow of energy: from concentrated power generators, to passive consumption. The distribution of distributed generation sources, often from highly variable renewable sources, requires a radical change in the management of the electricity distribution network, which needs to become increasingly intelligent and adaptive: in two words, smart grid.
Italy, through the proactive action of its operators (we hold the record for the distribution of electricity meters, with over 33 million users equipped), and with its privately-held companies, its research centres and universities, is a leader in the study, experimentation, demonstration and deployment of smart grid technologies; in particular, RSE has achieved significant international credibility which has led the company to coordinate or to be a partner in strategic projects in Europe (including among others REALISEGRID, OPENMETER, TWENTIES, ICOEUR, and so on) and to act on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Development in different European contexts such as the European Industrial Initiatives under the SET Plan (EII) and the European coordination of public research centers (European Energy Research Alliance - EERA) as well as international such as the IEA Implementing Agreements (International Energy Agency); among the latter, ISGAN (International Smart Grids Action Network) coordinated by RSE.