Intelligent energy management with EEBus
Using EEBus networking technology, energy providers and electronic devices communicate with each other to optimally control consumption. This enables a significant load transfer in the electricity network. In order to provide the sustainability that is necessary for this development, there is an initiative comprised of leading companies, integrated approaches and bilateral business cooperation.
It really is a 180-degree turning point. There is currently no other sector involved in the turnaround in energy policy where thinking and working patterns are changing as drastically as they are in energy management. Previously, all considerations assumed that electricity always flows to the extent that is required. With this in mind, the energy management of private and industrial consumers only focused on how devices would be used.
However, this approach no longer fits in a time when irregularly produced wind and solar electricity is continuously increasing its stock. Since 2003, the share of renewables in electricity production has gone from 7.5% (2003) to over 23%. What’s more, the Federal Government has set a goal to further increase the use of renewables to 35% by 2020 and then 80% by 2050.
Consumption and production peaks diverge
The probability that consumption and production peaks will chronologically diverge is increasing. If the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, there is a threat of shortages. However, at other times, the network is often not capable of absorbing all of the green energy that is produced by 1.3 million photovoltaic systems. Therein lies a threat of power failures, also known as blackouts.
A significant peak shift therefore serves as a key factor to the success of the turnaround in energy policy. Its potential is demonstrated in a study which was carried out by the VDE (association for electrical, electronic and information technologies). According to the study, intelligent energy control can be shifted by 8.5 gigawatts per day. This meets the consumption level of around four million households. Thus, the gradual shutdown of nuclear reactors would be easier to compensate, while additional large-scale power plants would not have to be built.
Coordinating the behaviour of all the participants
Implementing this load transfer is a huge challenge. The behaviour of all of the participants involved in energy production and consumption must be coordinated. A connection between the IP world (energy industry) and mainly non-IP world (home networking) is necessary in the smart grid. This requires that different types of devices made by various brands be able to communicate both with each other (vertical networking concept for different field bus systems) and with energy providers (horizontal networking concept).
This is exactly what EEBus networking technology enables. The middleware concept was designed by the Cologne-based company Kellendonk Elektronik within the framework of the Federal Government’s E-Energy programme. The benefits of EEBus connectivity are currently being tested within the model region of the Smart Watts research project in Aachen. A total of 250 households are taking part. The aim is to develop new approaches to optimise the energy supply through the use of modern information and communication technologies (ICT). Depending on the energy offers that are available, consumers receive incentives such as price signals to change their behaviour. Even personal electricity use can be optimised. Various devices precisely control its use so that the consumer can access their cheaply produced energy – which, for example, they received from a solar system on their roof – for as long as possible.
However, developing a technological connection is not enough. This has to be supported by the most important companies in the industry. It was therefore mandatory that there be a broad consensus from the key players in this field from the very beginning. Today, over 30 primarily global companies and the VDE have officially announced their affiliation to the new EEBus technology standard. They are therefore members of the EEBus Initiative e.V., which was founded in the spring of 2012. The list of well-known companies is diverse and includes ABB, Bosch-Siemens Home Appliances, EnBW, E.ON, Miele, SolarWorld, T-Systems and Vaillant (see Box 1). These companies want the interface concept to prevail as the mouthpiece of the economy – not just in Germany, but around the world. The initiative is therefore working with all of the relevant international standardisation bodies (see “Goals and claim of the EEBus Initiative e.V.”). The initiative has two chairmen: Peter Kellendonk, Managing Director of Kellendonk Elektronik and developer of EEBus technology, and Dr Bernhard Thies, Managing Director of the German Commission for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies of DIN and VDE (DKE).
Specific projects and potential use
For the new technology to achieve a sustainable effect, additional technical projects must be implemented and immediate utilisation potentials must be demonstrated. It is only with these types of integrated approaches that viable and sustainable applications will arise. This is of particular importance in this segment because the high-performance infrastructure which is created through the fusion of smart homes and smart grids can be used for a myriad of other applications. This connectivity makes many solutions in life and work easier, especially when it comes to service, safety and comfort. The economic potential of sustainable solutions is also large. The US consulting firm Pike Research forecasts that in 2019, smarter, more energy-efficient technology will account for USD 26.1 billion in annual worldwide sales.
Bilateral cooperation between the companies involved in the EEBus project would serve as another building block for tangible applications. Technology experts and manufacturers or suppliers of electronic devices can therefore work together to consider how they can quickly transform their ideas into real products.
Actual list of members: http://www.eebus.org/en/eebus-initiative-ev/members/
Further information concerning goals, claim and function: www.eebus.org