03/27/2012, Berlin

BDEW and ZVEI present their analysis of "Smart Grids in Germany"

Recommendations presented on launch of smart grid

Eight components are available already today for the implementation of smart grids / sensor systems and automation are the key

For the first time, the energy sector and the manufacturing industry have cooperatively identified their joint potential for developing smart energy grids and presented recommendations on the implementation in distribution systems. The German Association of Energy and Water Industries (Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft - BDEW) and the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (Zentralverband Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikindustrie - ZVEI) have presented today their analysis of "Smart Grids in Germany". The aim of the analysis was to determine technologies available for the launch of smart grids and the potential they offer for the solution of challenges to regional distribution systems.

"The analysis shows that eight components are available in the market already today which promise to be successful with regard to launching a smart grid in Germany. These components are network sensor systems, network control technology, communication and data infrastructure, controllable wind power, controllable photovoltaic, smaller CHP plants, pumped-storage power stations and components for reactive power compensation", Roger Kohlmann, Member of the BDEW General Executive Management Board, explained on the occasion of the Congress "Networks' Meeting Point 2012" in Berlin.

Kohlmann underlined that the grid integration of renewable energies was a big challenge to distribution systems. Already today, renewables-based electricity exceeded the transport capacity of certain network areas. "Many distribution system operators are already facing the task to not only develop their networks but also to turn them simultaneously into smart grids as far as possible. Smart grids are an important element in implementing the energy transition. Their use can improve the technical system integration of renewables into the grid and reduce at the same time the need for network development under certain premises", Kohlmann declared.

In cooperation with experts of distribution systems, the BDEW analysed which technical components promise to have a particularly high potential and are assessed already today to be relatively close to the market. This assessment was cooperatively reviewed by experts from the manufacturing industries represented within the ZVEI, and the results obtained led to the present appraisal. 25 technical components from the network, building, generation, storage and information and communication technology areas were assessed in terms of their potential and proximity to the market.

The expert analysis showed that there are eight promising components already available today in the market. For instance, the BDEW analysis and ZVEI experience gained from pilot projects prove that about 90 percent of all voltage deviations can be remedied by controllable local network transformers. Moreover, under certain conditions, the use of smart local network substations and new inverters can help to improve the utilisation of the existing distribution system infrastructure. "The use of these technical components could enable 20 to 25 percent more electricity to be transported across distribution networks", Kohlmann explained.

From the ZVEI’s and BDEW’s point of view, there are consequently three fields of action for distribution system operators to swiftly launch smart grids. In the short term, the information situation could be improved by systematic installation of sensor systems in the network. As a second step, the network could actually be turned into a smart grid by means of using controllable local network transformers, controllable inverters capable of feeding reactive power into the grid, appropriately standardised communication and data infrastructure, and network control technology. "By means of these components it will be possible to achieve an automation of the distribution system", Kohlmann said. As a third field of action, system-oriented feed-in and extraction was available to distribution system operators. Great potential would be offered here by controllable photovoltaic and wind energy plants, heat pumps and micro and mini combined heat and power plants (CHP).

The potential of storage technologies should not be left out of account. But according to the analysis, it is still too early for that. Storage technologies could contribute to further flexibility in future energy generation and make energy production usable that had to be limited in output today for system stability reasons. From 2030, at the latest, storage technologies even were a necessary precondition to be able to bridge the deficit phases of renewables-based electricity generation. Storage or reduction in output by three to five percent of electricity generated from renewable energies could enable the network connection capacity to be doubled in individual cases.

The BDEW and ZVEI analysis shows that it is very reasonable to use technologies like that of controllable transformers or sensor systems already today in order to immediately advance the reorganisation and development of distribution systems. Roger Kohlmann: "Though the first concrete steps towards a new network management system are very promising, it must also be clear that they will not materialise by themselves. The vision associated with this concept can only be effectively realised by the sector if the measures relevant to smart grids already adopted by the legislator were prioritised and put in more concrete terms. Otherwise, we would run the risk of finding ourselves trapped in complexity. Companies, politicians and regulatory authorities need to work cooperatively on this prioritisation and concretisation. This is the only way to successfully realise the major project of energy transition."


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