The breadth and coverage of analytical expertise in the IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs) are unique assets that underpin IEA efforts to support innovation for energy security, economic growth and environmental protection. The 38 TCPs operating today involve about 6 000 experts from government, industry and research organisations in more than 50 countries1.

Smart Grids (ISGAN TCP)


Rewarding smart grid best practice

The ISGAN TCP aims to advance policy, technology and related standards for smart grids by raising awareness of their benefits, developing tools for implementation, and co-ordinating joint projects. The annual ISGAN TCP Award of Excellence** has become a global mark for outstanding projects and best practices on smart grids development and deployment. 

The inaugural Award of Excellence, presented at the fifth annual Clean Energy Ministerial (Seoul, Korea).*

Electricity networks are under increasing stress as the sources of power supply and demand become progressively more varied and complex. To address this, the ISGAN TCP examines ways to enhance the resilience of electricity networks with a range of advanced information, sensing, communications, control, and energy management technologies that are collectively referred to as the “smart grid”. 

Each country has a unique set of drivers and approaches to adapting smart grid technologies and systems. These include improving operational efficiency and system reliability; improving electricity market function; reducing losses; differentiating electricity services for consumers; and integrating a range of energy supply and end-use technologies, such as solar photovoltaics, plug-in electric vehicles and energy storage.

Sharing best practices among countries promotes replication or adaptation of proven concepts in other markets, countries, and regions.

For these reasons, the ISGAN TCP rewards leadership and innovation in smart grid projects through an annual “Award of Excellence”. Submitted projects are reviewed by an independent, international jury drawn industry, the Global Smart Grid Federation (GSGF). The winning project is chosen based on several criteria covering the potential impact, benefits, economic rationale, potential for replication, and level of innovation, and alignment with the mission of the ISGAN TCP. Projects and programmes considered may be at the pilot, demonstration or deployment phases of smart grid technologies.

The 2015 ISGAN TCP Award of Excellence was bestowed on the project entitled “Grid4EU: Large Scale Demonstration of European Smart Distribution Networks”, led by France in collaboration with five European countries. The project demonstrated excellence in many areas and it was particularly fitting to the 2014 theme of renewable energy integration. Two projects, “EcoGridDS3 – Delivering a Secure, Sustainable, Electricity System” (Ireland) and “Smart Grid Station of Korea Electric Power Corporation” (Korea) each received an honourable mention.

Recognising that the active participation of consumers is one of the most vital attributes of successful SG implementation, the theme of the inaugural, 2014 Award was “consumer engagement and empowerment”. The winner that year was the “SmartView” pilot project on advanced metering infrastructure (United States). The project entitled “EcoGrid: Consumer Engagement” (Denmark) received an honourable mention, while eight other projects from Europe, Asia and North America were listed as finalists. Case studies of all the finalists are expected to be collected, synthesised and published.

* Photo courtesy of ISGAN TCP
** ISGAN, an initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), is formally organised under the IEA’s TCP mechanism as the Implementing Agreement for a Co-operative Programme on Smart Grids (ISGAN), also known as the TCP on Smart Grids.


  • Knowledge exchange, briefs, case studies and trainings on transmission on a range of smart grid topics, including distribution systems, advanced metering infrastructure, demand side management, consumer engagement and empowerment
  • Pre-standardisation evaluation of testing protocols
  • Smart grids drivers and technology priorities
  • Standardised methods for cost-benefit analysis


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