As more volatile energy sources like solar and wind are hooked up, there will be peaks and troughs in supply, creating a need for new storage and buffer systems. At the same time, though, greater flexibilisation of energy use provides another key route for improving the match between supply and demand. Whatever the strategy adopted, smart grids have a pivotal role to play.
A social cost-benefit analysis (SCBA) of smart grids
carried out for the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs by CE Delft in collaboration with KEMA has shown that establishing smart grids in the Netherlands can lead to long-term cost savings, by reducing copper requirements and by flattening out peaks and troughs through a tighter match between supply and demand. By varying the electricity price from minute to minute, consumers will have an incentive to do their laundry when the wind blows and power up their car when the sun shines.