During the first International Conference on the Integration of Renewable Energy Sources and Distributed Energy Resources held in December 2004, industrial stakeholders and the research community suggested the creation of an European Technology Platform for the Electricity Networks of the Future.
The European Commission Directorate General for Research developed the initial concept and guiding principles of the Technology Platform with the support of an existing FP5+6 research cluster (IRED - Integration of Renewable Energies and Distributed Generation), which represents over 100 stakeholders in the electricity networks sector.
The European Technology Platform for Electricity Networks of the Future began its work in 2005. Its aim was to formulate and promote a vision for the development of European electricity networks looking towards 2020 and beyond.
In April 2006 the Advisory Council of this European Technology Platform (ETP) presented its Vision document for SmartGrids. The Vision, for both transmission and distribution networks, is driven by the combined effects of market liberalization, the change in generation technologies to meet environmental targets and the future uses of electricity.
Together with the Strategic Research Agenda, published in 2007, it described the main areas to be investigated, technical and non-technical, in the short-medium term in Europe. Since then, these documents have inspired several Research and Development programs within the EU and National institutions.
At the end of 2008, based on the contributions and discussions of many people in the EU Member States, the first draft of this Strategic Deployment Document was released, under the Chairmanship of Pier Nabuurs CEO of N.V. KEMA. Today this document is formally finalized, and describes the priorities for the deployment of innovation in the electricity networks and the benefits that such innovation will deliver for all stakeholders. It also gives a timeline for deployment.
The Strategic Deployment Document has also benefited from input from a Mirror Group of Member State representatives, and as other activities and documents of the ETP SmartGrids, it has been a main source of inspiration for many institutions, and key stakeholders in Europe in the last years.
In 2012, the Strategic Research Agenda was updated and its horizon became 2035. The new SRA 2035 will serve as key input to the current EU Framework Programme, its successor Horizon 2020 and other SmartGrids research, development and demonstration initiatives both on national and European levels with the goal to advance the SmartGrids based European Energy System.