The European energy market is changing: we are leaving an era of liberalisation and entering a period in which sustainability and consumer participation will play an important role. Expectations are that smart grids, i.e. technologies designed to manage the electricity network, will support these developments. Smart grids have the potential to improve the energy system within the EU, but the extent to which they will do so largely depends on the technology and the standards that are used. Robin Hoenkamp’s research investigates how policy aims and requirements can be safeguarded within the EU’s standardisation process for smart grids.