Energias de Portugal

On the road to smart grids in Portugal

In 2010, when energy company Energias de Portugal (EDP) piloted the InovGrid smart project in the Portuguese city of Évora, it was one of the first initiatives focusing on smart energy management applied to local administration in Europe. The site was a relatively small UNESCO World Heritage Site counting 54,000 inhabitants.

Initially pioneered on a sample of 31,300 houses, the project aimed to show the positive impact of smart grids on the entire energy distribution network, both to customers and providers. By introducing smart energy boxes within households, consumers were given a more active role to play in monitoring individual energy use and improving efficiency in response to personalized consumption feedback and tips.

EDP also installed 20 charging points for electric vehicles across the city to encourage electric mobility and promoted energy decentralization through installing micro-generation, boosting the volume of energy that any consumer could produce at home with solar panels or small wind turbines.

The results? The project demonstrated that smart grid infrastructure had increased energy efficiency by 3.9% (with a 2.1% error margin). Interestingly, it also showed how important the interaction between consumers and providers is. Consumer engagement has the power to improve energy efficiency because it attempts to overcome diverse consumer preferences. Efficiency options can be tailored to personal lifestyles and individual requirements after interaction with customers. [1]

As EDP Distribution’s Director of Planning and Management Control João Martins de Carvalho admitted in an interview, “direct contact is very important”. This is why EDP chose to collaborate “with public sector bodies, from universities to local administration” for the entire duration of the Portuguese smart grid project.

[1] https://www.eiseverywhere.com/file_uploads/64214a5c173eaea811c42724a03ef1bf_SP-CarlosPereiraSmartgrid.pdf
[2] http://www.metering.com/lessons-learned-in-implementing-the-inovgrid-smart-city-project-in-vora/

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