From Prosumers to Smart Communities

EfficienzaThe current Italian and International energy market is undergoing a relevant change resulting from an intensive use of modern techniques for the production of energy from renewable sources. The mechanism of conversion from conventional to renewable energy sources has been generated due to strict economic policies, whose goal is to get benefits in environmental and economic terms. The geographic areas with low presence of raw materials have been motivated also by the possibility of achieving a higher degree of independence from the macro-zones rich in fossil fuels.

The decision for the promotion of renewable sources of each individual countries have created new actors in the current energy market, defined as Prosumer, we have producers and energy users at the same time. In this category we can find individual residential consumers and energy-intensive industrial users. The constant growth of new Prosumer leads to the fragmentation of a production system previously characterized by a centralized production in large power plants, in most of cases from fossil fuels. The characteristic of non-programmable renewable sources, associated with the fragmentation, leads to an increase in operational complexity of energy flows that foreshadows a significant risk to the balance between supply and demand of energy.

The objective to be pursued in the coming years is to promote investments that involve new and old players in the market in order to integrate renewable and traditional sources. This route allows to take advantage of the systematic technological advancement to achieve a gradually increasing supply from renewable sources and high levels of energy independence. The ambitious outcome will be reached only by accepting this new challenge that requires the deployment of multi-disciplinary skills and a proper control of a heterogeneous energy system, characterized by a growing number of Prosumer that, once integrated with each other, will be identified with the term Smart Community.

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