Smart Watts – the intelligent kilowatt hourSmart Watts research project
Since December 2008, “Smart Watts – the intelligent kilowatt hour” is a research project in which six companies have been working on innovative IT and communications solutions for the energy industry of the future. The field test was launched in December 2012: 260 STAWAG Stadtwerke Aachen AG customers tested smart metering systems as if they should be a part of everyday life in a few years. The research falls in line with the turnaround in energy policy because the aim is to intelligently link the electricity with information from the energy systems for the purpose of bringing fluctuating electricity production from renewable sources in line with consumption. In the field test, private households receive an electronic electricity meter with a storage and communication unit. The system records the data and sends the meter values to STAWAG via the electricity network and the Internet. A communication box in the households links the smart meters and smart outlets which control the connected home appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers or dryers via radio. The Smart Watts app makes the power consumption transparent, as the participants immediately see what the appliances connected to the smart outlets are consuming – they can choose to have this displayed in a graph each day, week, month or year. They also receive a price forecast for the next 24 hours and in turn set a fixed price threshold for their home appliances. The washing machine only turns on when the electricity price is beneath the threshold. Partners in the Smart Watts project include Utilicount GmbH & Co. KG as the consortium leader as well as Kellendonk Elektronik GmbH, PSI Energy Markets GmbH, SOPTIM AG, STAWAG and the Institute for Industrial Management (FIR). With Smart Watts, Aachen is one of the six model regions within the framework of the “E-Energy – ICT-based Energy System of the Future” federal research project, a support programme of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) .