Europe's first smart solar district intends to clone 'pro-sumers'

Wed, 2014-02-19 06:00 -- SCC Staff

Nice Grid is the first smart solar district demo in Europe. Xavier Fernandez photoTo illustrate how smart grids shape smart cities, an EDF pilot in Carros, France intends to turn passive residential and business consumers into active “pro-sumers" – or producer-consumers. They're participants in the multi-dimensional Nice Grid pilot that uses smart energy technologies from Alstom Grid. Both Alstom and electric utility EDF are Council Lead Partners.

Billed as Europe's first smart solar district demonstration, the Nice Grid project has a number of components, described here by Alstom:

Equipped with solutions enabling voluntary load shedding, these new prosumers can achieve proactive savings during periods of peak demand by following the operator's recommendations. In addition, in case of an incident, an "islanding" zone -- with its own photovoltaic generation capacity and storage facilities -- can be disconnected from the main grid during a time-limited period. This microgrid can independently ensure continuity of service while maintaining the required voltage and frequency along power lines.

As a partner in the four-year pilot, Alstom provides the smart energy management solution which controls and optimizes the full range of local energy resources available to solar districts in real time. Alstom also supplied its new MaxSine eStorage conversion solution that charges or drains batteries based on electricity demand across the power grid, reducing the amount of energy required from the operator.

Carros Mayor Antoine Damiani says his municipality is proud to be a partner in the project.  "With smart-technology power meters installed in their homes, the residents of a substantial area of Carros will pioneer the 'revolutionary' transition toward more sustainable energy," he wrote. "By participating in the Nice Grid project they will go beyond being just consumers, and will play an active and fundamental role in the production of renewable energy and in the regulation of power consumption."

More on smart grids:
S&C Electric: Smart grid as the foundation of a smart city
Steal this idea: Your smart grid can help pay for your smart city