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Poster presentation of the model projects at the 2nd E-Energy Congress in Berlin
© BMWi/E-Energy Begleitforschung
2nd E-Energy Congress

Smart grids: Integrating renewable energy into the grid

At the 2nd E-Energy Congress that was held on 11 and 12 January in Berlin, more than 300 experts from business, science and society discussed the fundamental requirements for developing smart electricity grids. With their help, it is intended to optimally match the growing supplies of renewable and decentralised energy sources with the electricity demand. In 2011, corresponding applications will be tested in six model regions with different focuses. The first results were presented at the congress.

“E-Energy – Smart Grids made in Germany” is the name of a technology funding initiative supported by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology in close cooperation with the Federal Ministry of the Environment. Consortia in six model regions were winners of a competition. Since December 2008, they have been developing and testing core elements for an energy Internet. This is because the flexible generation, distribution, storage and utilisation of renewable energies will in future be based on an Internet-like information structure.

The 2nd E-Energy Congress offered an opportunity to take stock of the project work conducted so far. It also provided a platform, however, for discussing suitable framework conditions for modernising the energy system. This concerns, for example, a possible legal obligation to develop smart grids – as has been proposed by industry. This also concerns, however, the international sharing of experience, which has functioned well for years as part of the so-called D-A-CH cooperation with Austria and Switzerland as well as within the framework of the EU. With the national programmes for developing smart grids in the USA and Japan, it is now possible to intensify this exchange.

A central requirement of the congress was the rapid establishment of standards and guidelines, since in order to redesign the energy system the necessary technical and economic prerequisites must be created (for example, investment security). By means of standardisation, both can be achieved nationally and internationally.

The development of smart grids will lead to the information-based linking of actors in the energy market. In addition to data security, the implementation of legal and technical data protection is particularly important, whereby the handling of customer data is a critical issue. The Federation of German Consumer Organisations called for a sensitive approach to be taken towards customers. The processing of personal data should be avoided. Further issues included the costs of smart grids, customer acceptance, for example with the dissemination of smart meters, and the transferability of technical solutions from the six model projects organised by E-Energy.

The model regions

In the “Modellstadt Mannheim” (moma) project, a virtual energy marketplace is being developed for energy generators, consumers and grid operators. Customers can identify the origin and cost of their electricity and, by controlling energy requirements as well as energy supplies from their own decentralised generation systems, can have a direct influence. In addition to electricity, this approach also includes gas, water and district heating.

The Cuxhaven eTelligence model region is involving large-scale commercial and municipal consumers in its tests, including large cold stores, of which there are more than 40,000 in Germany.

The Karlsruhe/Stuttgart MeRegio model region is focussing on minimising emissions. A field test with almost 1,000 customers balances out the generation and consumption to the smallest unit – the house or commercial facility.

In the Harz renewable energy model region, a new solar and wind forecasting system has been utilised. It can optimally coordinate the operation of a large number of decentralised plants that generate electricity from renewable energies with the consumers ("virtual power plant").

In the Rhine-Ruhr (E-DeMa) model region, 20 micro-CHP plants are being installed that can be connected if required as decentralised, small-scale generators. More than 1,000 ICT gateways enable consumers in the field test to actively participate in the market activities. This means that electricity customers are also simultaneously producers and customers.

The Aachen SmartWatts model region provides an example for the involvement of municipal supply companies. With the help of smart electricity meters, approximately 500 consumers are informed as to where the electricity comes from and what it costs. Electricity consumers can therefore make an optimal choice.

In 2011, comprehensive field tests with customers are planned in the model regions. At the beginning of 2012, it is intended to present the results of this test phase as part of a further event.

You can find more information about the programme and model projects at the E-Energy website.


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