The wide utilisation of information and communication technologies is hoped to enable a more efficient and sustainable operation of electric power grids. This paper analyses the benefits of smart power grids for the integration of renewable energy resources into the existing grid infrastructure. Therefore, the concept of a smart power grid is analysed, and it is shown that it covers more than for example, time-of-use energy tariffs. Further, the communication technologies used for smart grids are discussed, and the challenge of interoperability between the smart grid itself and its active contributors such as functional buildings is shown. A significant share of electrical energy demand is and will be constituted by large functional buildings that are mostly equipped with automation systems and therefore enable a relatively simple IT integration into smart grids. This large potential of thermal storages and flexible consumption processes might be a future key to match demand and supply under the presence of a high share of fluctuating generation from renewables.