Research Topics

The institutional framework of smart grids

Much of the present research and development effort goes into the technological side, which of course is absolutely necessary. However, we feel that if the institutional framework is not suitable or incorrectly designed to incentivize major stakeholders to implement the smart systems, much of the technological progress will not be realized and effort will have been in vain. It has become clear that the current regulatory and institutional framework for the energy networks was designed for the networks of the “old world”, and needs to be adjusted to facilitate the transition to smart grids. Considering the practical discussion and theoretical work, this research project aims to contribute to developing a consistent institutional framework

  • to facilitate the development and deployment of smart grids and a well-functioning institutional framework for developed smart grids
  • by regarding the (future) roles, responsibilities and regulation in smart distribution systems

Roles, responsibilities and regulation in smart distribution systems

Both the practical discussion and theoretical work investigate how to design a regulatory framework that explicitly supports the transformation towards future networks that support the large amounts of decentralized and renewable generation. Another major obstacle towards smart grids is the uncertainty concerning future distribution of tasks and responsibilities that arise from the transformation and the introduction of new actors and business models and the need for consumer participation.
This raises several questions, e.g.:

  • What contracts will arise between actors in smart grids?
  • What role can advanced pricing play in governing smart grids?
  • Which new actors and what type of business models emerge?
  • How can core-monopoly parts be distinguished from non-core monopoly parts?
  • Can/should different types of regulation be applied to different parts and tasks of the smart system?