Smart grids for more energy efficient cities in France

An article in the French newspaper Le Figaro, began with the words ‘Smart grids will be to energy what the internet was for computers’. In other words, a revolutionary concept.

This concept has recently been taken a step further when Alstom Power announced a deepening of its decade-long  partnership with Microsoft, enabling Alstom’s smart grids to be based on Microsoft’s cloud solutions. ‘Eco-neighborhoods’ in Nice, Grenoble and Bordeaux can now monitor their power consumption in real time, thanks to the new Power Cloud system. As also stated in one of our Futures Magazine articles, governments around the world are racing to invest in smart electricity grids to reduce energy consumption and battle climate change. The European Union’s Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan includes a €2 billion investment in smart grids over the next ten years. By 2020, the EU aims to have smart meters in 80 per cent of homes.

For all the non – French speaking readers, here are the three main ideas expressed in the Le Figaro article:

  • Microsoft announced on January 27 that it will deepen its long-standing partnership with the French energy firm Alstom, in particular with regards to joint work on smart grids, which allows for renewable but intermittent energy supplies to be better matched with increasingly decentralized and mobile energy demands.

  • Alstom’s own new offices in Massy (France) have their own smart grids, monitoring the onsite solar and wind energy supplies.

Additionally, the cities of Nice, Grenoble and Bordeaux –which are all developing ‘eco-neighborhoods’- will be able to calculate and monitor their renewable consumption and energy sales through a joint Microsoft-Alstom cloud computing program known as Power Cloud.


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