Design a groundbreaking city-sized smart grid demonstrator system to use as a “living lab” to shape France’s future electricity grids.
The core purpose of the GreenLys project was to investigate the “smart” in smart grids and come up with viable long-term solutions to improve grid reliability and safety despite three new challenges: distributed, two-way electricity grid management; grid balance that depends as much on the demand side as it does on the supply side; and increased interactions between larger numbers of stakeholders as utility trade barriers disappear. At a time when our electricity grids are under pressure to integrate more energy from renewable sources—in other words, locallyand intermittently-produced electricity—smart grids are the answer to maintaining balance between supply and demand at all times. The grid must be equipped to handle peak demand,
detect malfunctions before they occur, selfrepair, and bring consumers the information they need to reduce their individual energy consumption and environmental impacts. The worldwide smart grid market is estimated at €30 billion. In France, the smart grid market has the potential to create 10,000 direct jobs by 2020 for total revenue of €6 billion (half from sales outside of France). These market opportunities will help transform our electricity grids. The GreenLys project united a remarkable consortium of partners made up of major players on the open energy market, organizations operating in the regulated energy sector, industrial companies, scientific research, and academia.
GreenLys secured funding under France’s first economic stimulus package; the funds were administered by French energy agency ADEME. The project, which leveraged four years of experimentation, was particularly distinctive in that a variety of innovative technologies were implemented in interaction with one another:
- Renewable (mainly solar) energy production
- Utility (an electricity supply including renewables) and other new services to meet identifi ed market needs
- Enhanced weather forecasting capabilities and impact on sunlight with startup SteadySun, a spinoff of France’s national
solar energy research center, INES
- Electric vehicles
- On-board energy storage for electric vehicles
- Consumer behavior prediction
Another factor that made GreenLys unique was its focus on the key role of the residential consumer in actively managing demand and controlling energy consumption. Consumers were provided with dedicated smart grid equipment, services, and personalized support. The test consumers’ adoption of the solutions and their overall level of commitment to the project were studied by
sociologists; the results of this research were used to help market players better segment their products and services.
GreenLys established the foundations for a number of smart grid initiatives, such as nonprofit group Think Smartgrids, which represents France’s smart grid industry and supports its members’ business development strategies both in France and internationally. Think Smartgrids took over where SmartGrids France left off , and has been tasked with implementing one of the ten key smart grid action items on France’s industrial renewal roadmap. After GreenLys kicked off , a number of campus smart grid projects received government certifi cation. The Auvergne- Rhône-Alpes regional campus smart grid project includes coordinating actions with campus smart grids in Lille, Paris-Saclay, and Nice-Sophia-Antipolis. Schneider Electric successfully tested its homeautomation control panel, Wiser. The solution, used to operate home electrical equipment and manage energy, is now commercially available worldwide.
The comprehensive scope of the GreenLys project gave the project partners some unique opportunities to develop innovative technologies and services they will be able to offer their customers. The project partners also benefi tted from targeted insights into the value creation aspects of the smart grid solutions tested, whether it was from a financial, technological, societal, or environmental standpoint. Lastly, the project partners came away with the capacity to recommend concrete actions to help build a powerful electricity grid capable of rising to the challenges of the energy transition and driving the emergence of a new industry. An impressive 82% of test consumers surveyed were satisfied to very satisfi ed with the project; 84% reported that they would recommend GreenLys services to their friends and family.