Renewable energy sources (RES) integration and advanced technological solutions related to power systems (e.g., storage, HVDC connections, smart meters etc.) are among the key solutions needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change. In 2016, for the first time the increase in renewable energy capacity exceeded the increase in fossil fuel power capacity. However, the intermittent nature of variable RES raises concerns about their integration in today’s power systems due to potential stability and reliability issues.

Smart grids and storage solutions can link centralised power networks with renewable energy based power plants and, at consumer level (residential or industrial), can help to optimally balance supply and demand.

There is a worldwide interest in smart grids. In fact, smart grids offer the potential to reduce network losses across the energy system, increase the efficiency and utilisation of power system assets, avoid investment in costly physical infrastructure, and increase access to electricity at a lower cost than traditional solutions. Smart grids also enable the implementation of innovative solutions that will allow renewable energy from remote areas (e.g. off-shore wind) to be brought to urban centres where the energy can be dispatched and consumed.

Research and development in the field of smart grids is needed to develop technology solutions to address challenges related to the design, integration, operation, management and optimization of the power systems of the future, and enable a seamless integration of 100% generation from RES. Business and Investors Engagement (BIE) is important aspect of this challenge in order to accelerate innovation, commercialization and deployment in fields of smart grids and renewable energy sources.

Most of the Mission Innovation Smart Grids Innovation Challenge (herein IC1) Members have ongoing programmes, initiatives and activities in the smart grids research field. Their knowledge and experiences along with their commitment towards significantly higher RD&D smart grids investments will act as a catalyst to accelerate the roll-out of smart grids technology in the near future.