The region of Vendée in Ouest of France is engaged in a large scale smart grid demonstrator. The
project, called “Smart Grid Vendée”, has the ambition to determine the future organization of
electricity distribution in order to increase the rate of renewable electricity supply at a local scale. The
consortium includes SyDEV, ERDF, ALSTOM, COFELY, ACTILITY LEGRAND and le CNAM.
The demonstrator will integrate the whole chain of smart grid from wind and solar farms (102 and 22
MW) to consumers, especially public lighting (10 000 lights) and buildings (100). Specific tools are
being developed to manage the distributed energy devices from a technical and economical point of
view. This revolution for the local grid management opens great prospects for power electronics. It is
indeed most likely that the French regulatory framework will have established the bases for such a
business development, within less than five years.
Energy utilities worldwide through Demonstrators are experimenting new smart grid systems, laying
down a new layer of digital equipment on their existing infrastructures to interconnect all assets—from
ultra-high-voltage supergrids to ultra-low-voltage micro- and pico-grids—with buildings and homes.
This Layered digitalization will bring the opportunity to enhance existing power grid infrastructures
(i.e., power lines, electrical substations, network control rooms) by improving real-time assessment of
system conditions. New digital equipment and devices can be strategically deployed to complement
existing equipment in a multi-tier architecture where Higher tiers are coordinating and optimizing
lower tier actions. Using a combination of centralized IT and distributed intelligence within critical
system control nodes, a system of systems architecture is emerging to bring unprecedented efficiency
and stability to the energy system.