Spain's first smart city testing ground for smart grid

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Over the last four years, the Smartcity Málaga pilot project -- the first of its kind in Spain -- has demonstrated the feasibility of a new energy management model for cities, meeting the initial targets of 20 percent energy savings and the enhanced integration of renewables within the distribution grid. Following the successful conclusion of the first phase of implementation of the Smartcity Málaga pilot project in 2009, the city of Malaga has become a testing ground for the development of smart grid distribution technologies.

Credit: Endesa

Smartcity Málaga integrates a wide range of technologies into the city's electricity distribution network to analyze how the current energy model can evolve toward sustainability while enabling energy savings and reducing the environmental impact of CO2 emissions in line with 2020 EU targets.

The first phase of Smartcity Málaga consisted of a 31 million euro project headed by Endesa, one of the largest private electricity multinationals in Latin America, and involved 300 industrial, 900 service and 12,000 domestic customers. Over the last four years, Smartcity Málaga has highlighted the feasibility of a new energy management model for cities.

During the next phase, the city of Málaga will deploy the technologies installed during the first phase of the project, at which time the distribution network was configured as a smart grid. These technologies will enable the testing of new equipment, operating models and consumption management systems with a focus on analysis of efficiency indicators, advanced grid operation, remote meter management services, cybersecurity, and energy-saving measures for residential and large customers, in addition to the integration of renewables, storage and e-mobility within the city grid.

The aims of the project were achieved by bringing power generation facilities closer to end-users through the installation of photovoltaic panels on public buildings, the use of micro solar power generation in a number of hotels and the installation of micro wind power systems in the area. Storage systems were also employed so renewable energy could be used for building air conditioning, public lighting and grid back-up. E-mobility research was also strengthened, with the installation of recharging stations and the introduction of a small fleet of electric vehicles.

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