SMILE supports the development and implementation at regional level of major industrial and territorial projects related to smart grids.
Launched in 2016 by the Regions of Brittany and Pays de la Loire, SMILE leads the energy transition process at regional level by promoting the deployment of smart grids (SG) as a solution for renewable and efficient energy. It aims to foster the interaction between companies and territories, as developers of solutions and implementation sites respectively, in order to create a region-wide smart grid.
In terms of concrete actions, SMILE supports the development of regional pilot projects to deploy and test innovative SG solutions over a large and densely populated area (27133 km² - 3,4 M inhabitants). All major related changes are addressed, including regulatory frameworks, business models and consumer involvement.
For an efficient coordination, SMILE is organised as an association jointly chaired by the regional authorities and managed by the development agencies of the two regions. The association has also the mission to federate all main players of the SG industry (e.g. local authorities, companies, universities and financial institutions) and engage them in the energy transition process led by SMILE.
With the contribution of 3 groups of experts, focused on the technical, financial and social issues related to SG, SMILE supports companies and local authorities in developing new projects (support for technical and sociological aspects), identifying funding sources and markets, connecting with partners, promoting projects at the national and EU level.
The Regions of Brittany and Pays de la Loire have planned to invest together 4,9M€ over 4 years for project coordination. In addition, Smile has been looking for existing funding opportunities and additional private investments for its territorial projects (expected total amount of 270M€).
Evidence of success
As of August 2018, SMILE has supported the development of 28 projects that are expected to be implemented by 2020. All supported projects are collaborative and aim to demonstrate mature technologies based on viable economic models. Topics include self-consumption, electric vehicles, data management platforms, energy storage. In terms of stakeholder engagement, the SMILE association counts 224 members, representing all major players of the energy sector.
In terms of project governance, the number of players involved requires an efficient coordination and a smooth flow of information. Defining specific targets and carrying out a mid-term review (e.g. socio-economic evaluation, cost-benefit analysis) is essential to ensure effective project results.
Potential for learning or transfer
The methodology defined and used for the SMILE project might be interesting to other regional/national authorities looking for models to build a dynamic and coordinated framework to support smart grids in their territory.
In addition, SMILE shows an interesting approach in terms of project governance when considering the number of stakeholders involved and a coordination shared by two regions.
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