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INESC TEC asks the Portuguese if they know what a smart grid is

INESC TEC, together with EDP Distribuição, Withus - Inovação e Tecnologia and NOS, is conducting a national survey in order to understand the country’s knowledge of smart grids.


The motto of the survey, which can be responded until mid-December at, is "Do you know what a smart grid is?".

Why this national study

This survey is being conducted as part of European project UPGRID. With a budget of € 15.7m, until 2017 the goal of this project is to install four large smart grids demonstrators in Europe, Portugal (Parque das Nações), Spain (Bilbao), Sweden (Åmål) and Poland (Gdansk).

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“The responses that we obtain in the surveys will trigger a series of appropriate actions to raise awareness with the Portuguese population and to help them understand how they use their electricity. Above all, we want them to understand their energy consumption and how they can control the multiple electrical devices in their homes to use energy more efficiently”, explains Luís Seca, coordinator of INESC TEC’s Centre for Power and Energy Systems (CPES).

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According to the researcher, “the type of consumer response to the survey will allow us to profile the level of knowledge of the operation of the electrical system, which will then be grouped and typified at various levels. The respondents will have access to all this information.”

But what are smart grids anyway?

The path to smart grids was triggered by the emergence of smart meters. These meters – which can be read remotely – have facilitated the communication between the network operator and the consumer. And when combined with other equipment, they also provide the operator with important information about the state of the network and allow the consumer to know exactly, in real time, the level of consumption of their home appliances.

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Smart grids are based on these capabilities, and make it possible to realise a common goal of developed countries and their citizens: the stability of the power grid and, hence, an undisturbed supply of energy. In fact, by enabling real-time interaction between the utility operator, the consumer and the equipment installed in the network and in the places of consumption (homes, offices, factories), it is possible to make decisions and promote actions to solve and even anticipate local technical problems that may result from the variability associated with renewable energies and/or special loads, such as with electric vehicles.

These and other curiosities are provided on the survey’s platform:

The survey will be available until mid-December, at which point the profiles will start being drawn. In the beginning of 2017, the four Portuguese organisations involved in the project will make the results public and, from there, promote a series of actions to raise the public’s awareness.

The UPGRID project

The UPGRID project features 19 partners from seven European countries: Portugal, Spain, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, France and Norway (the latter as an associated country).

The Portuguese demonstrator is being developed by the Portuguese partners and will involve more than 15 thousand residential consumers from the parish of Parque das Nações, in Lisbon.

In turn, the Spanish demonstrator is being developed by Iberdrola, Eve, General Electric, Ziv and Tecnalia, and involves 190 thousand consumers. In Poland, the demonstrator is being implemented by Energa Operator together with Attend, Instytut Energetyki and Politechnika Gdanska, involving 14,700 consumers. Finally, the Swedish demonstrator is being developed by Vattenfal, General Electric, Schneider Electric and Powel AS and covers 528 consumers.


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The UPGRID will have a very relevant economic and social impact, as the entire implementation process will involve not only final consumers but also all the agents operating the power grid.

Project UPGRID is funded by the European Union H2020 program, under funding agreement no. 646 531. It is coordinated by Iberdrola Distribución Eléctrica (Spain), and features INESC TEC and EDP Distribuição - Energia, Withus and NOS, in Portugal, Fundación Tecnalia, Universidad Pontificia Comillas, ZIV, Asociación Tecnológico de la Energía and Ente Vasco de la Energía, in Spain, Atende, Politechnika Gdanska and Instytut Energetykl in Poland, Vattenfall Eldistribution in Sweden, Imperial College London and General Electric in the United Kingdom, Schneider Electric Industries in France, and Powel in Norway.

Three INESC TEC centres are working on the project: CPES, Centre for Industrial Management and Engineering (CEGI) and the High-Assurance Software Laboratory (HASLab).


The researcher mentioned in this news piece is associated with INESC TEC.

INESC TEC, November 2016

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