Smart Grids made in Germany
German energy policy is focusing on three major goals: security of supply, economic efficiency and environmental compatibility. In times of rising demand for raw materials, their scarcity and the threat of climate change, achieving these goals poses a major challenge to society. With its energy policy, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology aims to ensure that a reliable and environmentally responsible energy supply can be attained at a reasonable cost. The "E-Energy - Smart Grids made in Germany" support programme is an important building block in this process. It was initiated in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in 2008, and by 2013 it had amassed a total of EUR 60 million in support - this is an addition to the EUR 80 million which the participating companies have contributed. From Freiamt in the Black Forest to Cuxhaven on the North Sea, six model regions are currently testing key technologies for an intelligent energy supply of the future. The field tests in the E-Energy model regions show that through the use of ICT, the electricity consumption of households and industrial companies can be delayed by up to 10%.
E-DeMa – model region Rhine-Ruhr
The E-DeMa project saw an intelligent consumption control system as well as a timely acquisition and supply of consumption data be tried and tested over a central data hub - the E-DeMa energy marketplace. The focus was on the cost-based utilisation of decentralised small-scale producers and electric household appliances. A total of 14 micro combined heat and power units were installed. If required, they can be connected as small decentralised producers and aggregated to marketable production quantities over the marketplace. In addition, about 700 households were equipped with ICT gateways that allowed consumers and producers in the Rhine-Ruhr region therefore fuse together to create a "prosumer" - someone who not only consumes energy, but also produces and provides flexibilities to participate in the market.
eTelligence – model region Cuxhaven
eTelligence could show tthat thermal-electric energy systems such as cold storage houses and combined heat and power units can be used very effectively for energy storage: when there is a lot of wind available, the cold storage house in Cuxhaven lowers its temperature and creates a cold buffer. At times when electricity prices are high, the cooling units are switched off. By using the previously produced cold buffer, the cold storage house can be operated for several days with a considerably reduced amount of electricity consumption. Over the course of a year, electricity costs can therefore decrease significantly. The intelligent use of the cold storage houses has already led to a 6% reduction in electricity costs. As good as this is, the full savings potential has not yet been realised.
MeRegio – model region Baden-Württemberg
Electricity customers in Freiamt (Black Forest) and Göppingen have tested the “smart house” within the context of the MeRegio project. In the project, energy production and consumption were coordinated so that the available energy could be used efficiently. This was achieved with the aid of local load transfer potential. The connection possibilities were not just limited to intelligent freezers and dishwashers, but also included stationary batteries and micro combined heat and power units. The consumer’s independent production was also included so that in the end, the client received the best result. Critical network conditions that may be caused by the fluctuating supply of energy or new market signals can be overcome with automated demand-side management.
moma – model region Mannheim
In a field test in Mannheim, the so-called “energy butler” was installed in approximately 1,000 households. This provided the consumer’s intelligent home appliances with important information and signals so that the appliances could be used sensibly. This energy management system helped electricity customers align their use with the energy market’s variable prices. The energy butler controlled the consumption of devices and used the current electricity prices to independently decide when a device should be switched on or off. Devices were therefore only used at times when it was the most sensible and least expensive for the customer. Network requirements were also included in the optimisation. Devices which are used at various times such as washing machines and freezers could thereby be operated in a cost-saving manner. The energy butler constantly kept the consumers up to date about their current electricity consumption.
RegModHarz – regenerative model region Harz
With the bundled marketing of regionally available renewable producers and flexibilities that are grouped together to form a virtual power plant, the model region in the Harz primarily exposed itself to different markets. An online platform enabled the RegModHarz electricity consumers to analyse information about the rates as well as the current, past and future production of renewable electricity. The Harz also showed that the energy’s storage requirements could be reduced through short-term wind forecasts. The newly developed role of the pool coordinator – which bundles and markets the locally produced electricity – takes on a central significance in the new markets.
Smart Watts – model region Aachen
In Aachen, the “smart kilowatt hour” provided consumers in smart homes with price-based incentives to manually or automatically shift their energy consumption to favourable time frames. The consumption data collected by smart meters was the basis for variable rates – it was accounted for and made transparent with a flexible billing and reporting system. With this, offers that encourage energy-saving behaviour could be created. Through an incentive-based system, the supply, consumption, offer and demand were specifically influenced. With the help of the open EEBus standard – which was developed within the framework of the model project and is currently affiliated with 25 leading companies – the necessary networking of the household is ensured through the information and control systems.