Smart grids in the European Union: Assessing energy security, regulation & social and ethical considerations

Rafael Leal-Arcas, Feja Lesniewska, Filippos Proedrou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this article is to provide an analysis of smart grids in the European Union (EU) as a way forward to reach sustainable energy. It does so by assessing the energy security, regulatory, and social and ethical aspects of smart grids in the EU. The article represents a significant milestone in the upscaling of the various aspects of smart grid technology across the EU. It deals with smart grid deployment and their impact on energy security with a view to a stronger role of prosumers in the energy market. It also analyses smart grid regulation. Specifically, it examines the existing legal frameworks that impact smart grids in the EU. It outlines existing EU Directives and assesses the level of implementation of these Directives in various EU Member States. This article also assesses the extent to which the existing legal frameworks facilitate the development of smart grids and proposes areas of further regulatory consideration. The article then explores the social and ethical dimension of smart grids in the context of the collaborative economy, the circular economy, and digital technology, including cybersecurity and data-management issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-389
Journal Columbia Journal of European Law
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 May 2018


  • smart grids
  • prosumers
  • sustainability
  • Energy security
  • demand response
  • electricity storage
  • collaborative economy
  • circular economy
  • cybersecurity
  • data protection


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