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Energy consulting, testing and certification company DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability has completed a study for Netbeheer Nederland - the Association of Energy Network Operators in the Netherlands - that analyzed smart grid demonstration projects around the world. According to DNV KEMA, the points learned from this study will help inform network operators involved in current and future smart grid projects in the Netherlands.

The study focuses on the differences between continents. For instance, in the U.S., smart grids are mainly used to make variable energy rates possible and to reduce peaks in electricity use. In Europe, the emphasis is on energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions, whereas in some parts of Asia, the priority is on improving the reliability of the energy network, says DNV KEMA.

The study also concludes that smart grids can be used to counter peaks in energy consumption because they can be used with pricing incentives. However, a rates incentive alone is often insufficient to reduce demand, DMV KEMA says. Consumer involvement is also necessary to achieve this. Energy displays and smartphone applications, in particular, increase consumers' awareness of their energy consumption.

At the same time, many consumers are not yet aware of the opportunities that smart grids offer, and DMV KEMA says it is important that this changes in order to gain sufficient support for the new technology.

Smart grids are an important precondition to making the energy transition possible, the study finds. Dutch network operators invest approximately 1.5 billion euros annually in the replacement and expansion of their grids. The Netbeheer Nederland report shows that between 20 billion and 70 billion euros extra must be invested before 2050 in order to adapt and “smarten” the energy grids. It is imperative that these investments be practical, DNV KEMA adds.


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