The European Technology Platform (ETP) for the Electricity Networks of the Future (SmartGrids) is a European Commission initiative that aims at boosting the competitive situation of the European Union in the field of electricity networks, especially smart power grids. The ETP represents all European stakeholders. The establishment of an ETP in this field was for the first time suggested by the industrial stakeholders and the research community at the first International Conference on the Integration of Renewable Energy Sources and Distributed Energy Resources, which was held in December 2004.
The SmartGrids Platform was started by the European Commission Directorate General for Research of the European Commission in 2005.
SmartGrid is a new concept that will respond to the rising challenges and opportunities, bringing benefits to all network users and stakeholders. SmartGrids are based on a more customer-centric approach, on a large integration of renewable sources and distributed generation. A SmartGrid is an electricity network that can intelligently integrate the actions of all users connected to it - generators, consumers and those that do both - in order to efficiently deliver sustainable, economic and secure electricity supplies. The concept was developed in 2006 by the European Technology Platform SmartGrids in their document.
SmartGrids deployment must include not only technology, market and commercial considerations, environmental impact, regulatory framework, standardization usage, ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and migration strategy but also societal requirements and governmental edicts.