Intelligence test for the power grid of the future

  • First nationwide activation test of decentralised assets to solve grid congestions

  • SINTEG projects C/sells and enera connect regional digital platforms for decentralised flexibility for the first time to enable large-scale testing

6 April 2020. System operators and several energy companies have successfully tested the smart grid of the future: For the first time, they have run a nationwide test under real conditions to steer decentralised electricity consumers, storage facilities and generators by linking two online platforms, to jointly avoid future grid congestions and stabilise the power grid if necessary. This was the first time that two SINTEG projects worked together: C/sells with a focus on southern Germany and solar energy and enera with a focus on northern Germany and wind energy. Both projects are seeking solutions on how decentralised assets, rather than conventional power plants, can stabilise the electricity grid in the future. To this end, the project partners have developed online platforms on which decentralised assets can make their flexibility available for the electricity grid.

During the test, after coordination with the participating system operators Avacon Netz GmbH, Bayernwerk Netz GmbH and EWE NETZ GmbH, the electricity consumption of a storage facility in windy Lower Saxony was increased at the request of the transmission system operator TenneT, in order to feed-in electricity from renewable energies. In the Bayernwerk area in the high-load south of Germany, individual biogas and cogeneration plants have simultaneously fed more electricity into the grid at the request of the regional system operator, to meet local electricity demand. In this way, the amount of electricity to be transported in the power grid was reduced, thus helping to eliminate grid congestions.

"In the future, we will need millions of small decentralised plants to stabilise the transmission grid. To achieve this, system operators at all levels will have to work together and develop new tools to exploit the potential of cogeneration plants, heat pumps, biogas plants, battery storage systems, electric cars, heat pumps, power-to-gas installations and other decentralised assets for greater grid security. Our test has shown how this works successfully," said TenneT Managing Director Tim Meyerjürgens.

According to the system operators involved, Avacon Netz GmbH, Bayernwerk Netz GmbH and EWE NETZ GmbH, the future of energy generation is decentralised and takes place in the distribution grid. The companies agree that this means that distribution system operators will be faced with new tasks, also supporting transmission system operators in stabilising the grid.

The system operators expect a strong increase in electric mobility, heat pumps and electric storage systems in the future. Since these can consume and release electricity on demand, they can provide the grid with flexible capacities for stabilisation. These electricity users take electricity from the distribution grid or feed it back into it. Therefore, they are initially compatible with the distribution grid. In order to be able to use them to stabilise the extra-high voltage grid (transmission grid) in the future, the system operators of the different voltage levels have to coordinate their activities. "The customer-driven decarbonised energy world of tomorrow will be decentralised and digitally organised. By using assets in the distribution network, congestions in the transmission grid can also be managed. This requires intensive cooperation between the system operators," emphasised Egon Westphal, Chief Technology Officer at Bayernwerk.

To bring together supply and demand, a flexibility platform called “comax” was developed within the framework of C/sells: Flexibility providers report existing potential and network operators can view this and coordinate to activate flexibility according to their respective needs. In the enera project, an exchange-based local flexibility market is being tested to solve grid congestions. "This market brings together supply and demand for flexibilities and makes them available to network operators in an efficient way," explained Philippe Vassilopoulos, Director Product Development at EPEX SPOT.

"With its combination of lithium-ion and sodium-sulfur storage technologies, our hybrid storage facility in Varel has a capacity of more than 24 MWh. It is therefore very well suited to quickly relieve the electricity grid, preventing the shutdown of wind turbines," said Hendrik Brockmeyer, Managing Director of be.storaged GmbH. Besides the large battery, industrial plants such as a paper and cardboard factory and an electric gas transport compressor also increased their load in previous activations in the enera showcase region in the north-west of Lower Saxony. "In further flexibility activations in the enera region, consumers were able to prove their potential for relieving the grid by consuming electricity instead of burning fossil gas," added Tammo Filusch, responsible for the virtual power plant at EWE VERTRIEB GmbH. A power-to-gas plant in Werlte in Lower Saxony can also temporarily increase its gas production. This has simultaneously advanced sector coupling while producing green gas.

"In the C/sells region in southern Germany, we have increased the feed-in of several biogas plants from our pool into the distribution grid in order to prevent congestions," explained Tobias Nitze of Next Kraftwerke GmbH. "It was a local mix of producers and consumers which helped to alleviate the congestions,” said Klaus Nagl of Consolinno Energy GmbH. During the test, the AI-based software developed by Consolinno took over the network-related control of complete quarters and local heating networks. In addition to this, biogas plants of the producer association for energy in Bavaria and the biogas professional association, which are marketed by Stadtwerke Munich, were also included in the process.

Today, grid congestions from north to south Germany are becoming more and more frequent, partly due to the increasing decentralised feed-in from renewable energies. To avoid these congestions, the generation of conventional power plants and renewable units is interfered with to ensure that the transport of electricity is in line with the transmission capacity of the grid. The annual costs for this throughout Germany are well over one billion euros and are ultimately borne by the end-consumers via the grid fees.

For the future use of decentralised small-scale assets and in particular the integration of consumers, the political framework must be created and the necessary tools further established. This will contribute to the success of the energy transition and enable the future expansion of the grid to be limited to an economically sensible level.

More about the C/sells-project: https://www.csells.net

More about the enera-project: https://projekt-enera.de/

Contacts:

 

TenneT: Ulrike Hörchens / +49 (0) 921 50740 4045 / ulrike.hoerchens@tennet.eu

 

AVACON NETZ GmbH: Michaela Fiedler / +49 (0) 5351 1233 5253 / michaela.fiedler@avacon.de

 

Bayernwerk Netz GmbH: Christian Martens / +49 (0) 921-285-2084 / christian.martens@bayernwerk.de

 

be.storaged GmbH: Hendrik Brockmeyer / +49 (0) 441 350197-20 / h.brockmeyer@be-storaged.com

 

Consolinno Energy GmbH: Markus Oberhoff / +49 (0) 171 4870333 m.oberhoff@consolinno.de

 

EPEX SPOT: Maria Schubotz / +33 (0) 1 73 03 61 33 / +33 (0) 6 74 86 67 74 / m.schubotz@epexspot.com

 

Erzeugergemeinschaft für Energie in Bayern eG: Andreas Engl / +49 (0) 8745/ 96 49 21-2 / info@eeb-eg.de

 

EWE AG: Katharina Schütz / +49 (0) 441 4805 – 1817 / katharina.schuetz@ewe.de

 

Next Kraftwerke: Lotte Lehmbruck / +49 (0) 221 820085860 / presse@next-kraftwerke.de

About TenneT

TenneT is a leading European grid operator (Transmission System Operator (TSO). We design, build, maintain and operate the high-voltage electricity grid in the Netherlands and large parts of Germany and facilitate the European energy market. We are committed to providing a secure and reliable supply of electricity, today and in the future, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and to playing our role in driving the energy transition. We transport electricity over a network of approximately 23,500 kilometres of high-voltage connections, from wherever and however it's generated, to over 42 million end-users while keeping electricity supply and demand balanced at all times. With close to 5,000 employees, we achieve a turnover of 4.1 billion euros and a total asset value of EUR 23 billion. TenneT is one of the largest investors in national and international onshore and offshore electricity grids. TenneT makes every effort to meet the needs of society. This will require us all to take ownership, show courage and connect with each other. Taking power further

About AVACON NETZ GmbH

Avacon Netz sorgt für die zuverlässige Bereitstellung der Strom- und Gasnetze für Kommunen, Industrie, Gewerbe und Haushalte. Das Netzgebiet für Strom umfasst über 55.000 Quadratkilometer und erstreckt sich von der Nordseeküste bis Südhessen. Über Hoch-, Mittel- und Niederspannungsleitungen von rund 64.000 km Länge sowie ein mehr als 21.000 km langes Erdgasnetz bringen wir die Energie sicher zu unseren Kunden. Rund 16 Millionen Menschen werden über unsere Netze mit Energie versorgt.

About Bayernwerk Netz GmbH

Die Bayernwerk Netz GmbH sorgt mit rund 2.700 Mitarbeitern für eine sichere und zuverlässige Energieversorgung der rund sieben Millionen Menschen in den bayerischen Regionen Unter- und Oberfranken, Oberpfalz sowie Nieder- und Oberbayern. Das Unternehmen ist der größte regionale Verteilnetzbetreiber in Bayern: Sein Stromnetz umfasst 154.000 Kilometer, sein Gasnetz 5.800 Kilometer und das Straßenbeleuchtungsnetz 34.600 Kilometer. In seinen Energienetzen verteilt das Unternehmen zu 60 Prozent elektrische Energie aus erneuerbaren Quellen. In Nord- und Ostbayern versorgt das Unternehmen Kunden auch über sein Erdgas-netz. Dafür sorgen knapp 300.000 dezentrale Erzeugungsanlagen, die in das Netz des Bayernwerks Ökostrom einspeisen. Mit innovativen Lösungen entwickelt das Unternehmen Energiesysteme von morgen und ist an mehr als 20 Standorten im Land präsent. Sitz der Bayernwerk Netz GmbH ist Regensburg. Das Unternehmen ist eine 100-prozentige Tochter der Bayernwerk AG.

About be.storaged GmbH

The be.storaged GmbH, based in Oldenburg, is a fully-owned subsidiary of EWE AG one of the largest energy suppliers in Germany with its main supply area in the Elbe-Weser-Ems region. The be.storaged GmbH has set itself the goal of integrating battery storage solutions for commercial and industrial customers. In the near future, it will be necessary to meet the future challenges of the energy and traffic turnaround by using battery storage. To this end, be.storaged GmbH offers a wide range of services for project planning, installation and operation as well as a comprehensive platform for potential analysis of battery storage systems. This platform serves a wide range of system manufacturers, energy consultants or installation companies for the optimal design of capacity and performance parameters and lays the foundation for joint customer acquisition.

About Consolinno Energy GmbH

Consolinno Energy GmbH from Regensburg is a highly innovative start-up and connects IT and AI with the energy industry. The company currently has 35 employees. The company has its own electronics and hardware, a self-developed energy management system as well as various software and optimization solutions for energy suppliers, network operators, marketers and virtual power plants. The Consolinno employees are experts in the fields of artificial intelligence and algorithms and all of them have extensive expertise in the energy industry. The Consolinno products control decentralized energy generation plants as well as quarters/districts and energy-cells. In connection with artificial intelligence, systems for the future design of power grids can be analysed and regulated with regard to usable and valuable flexibility.

About EPEX SPOT SE

The European Power Exchange EPEX SPOT SE and its affiliates operate physical short-term electricity markets in Central Western Europe and the United Kingdom. As part of EEX Group, a group of companies serving international commodity markets, EPEX SPOT is committed to the creation of a pan-European power market. In 2019, its 302 members traded 593 TWh – a third of the domestic consumption in the eight countries covered. 49% of its equity is held by HGRT, a holding of transmission system operators. For more information, please visit www.epexspot.com.

About Erzeugergemeinschaft für Energie in Bayern eG (EEB eG)

Die EEB eG ist ein erzeugerübergreifender Zusammenschluss von Biogas-, Windkraft- und Photovoltaik-Anlagen in Bayern. Gemeinschaftlich wollen sich die Mitglieder auf ein neues und digitales Energiezeitalter vorbereiten, für einen wirtschaftlichen Weiterbetrieb nach 20 Jahren EEG-Vergütung. In diesem Zusammenhang nimmt die EEB eG an verschiedenen Forschungsprojekten teil und untersucht speziell den Einsatz der Blockchain-Technologie, als eindeutigen Herkunftsnachweis und Datengrundlage, für den Einsatz künstlicher Intelligenz zur Organisation regionaler Energiezellen.

Als Vermarktungsgenossenschaft bietet die EEB eG den Energieversorgern und Netzbetreibern neben regionalen und regenerativen Energiemengen auch Flexibilitäten durch einen virtuellen Zusammenschluss.

About EWE

EWE is an innovative service provider active in the business areas of energy, telecommunications and information technology. With over 8,500 employees and sales of around EUR 5.7 billion in 2018, EWE is one of the largest utility companies in Germany. The company, based in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, is primarily owned by the local government. It provides electricity to around 1.4 million customers in northwest Germany, Brandenburg and on the island of Rügen, as well as parts of Poland, and supplies natural gas to almost 0.8 million customers. It also provides approximately 700,000 customers with telecommunications services. To achieve this, the various companies in the EWE Group operate over 190,000 kilometres of electricity grid, natural gas grid and telecommunications networks. EWE intends to invest over EUR 1.2 billion in a comprehensive fibre-optic expansion over the coming years, creating the foundation for the digitalisation of northwest Germany. More information on EWE can be found at www.ewe.com.

About EWE NETZ GmbH

In the EWE Group, EWE NETZ GmbH is responsible for the network infrastructure for electricity, natural gas, telecommunications and drinking water in the regions Ems/Weser/Elbe, East Brandenburg, northern West Pomerania and Rügen. The company is one of Germany's largest and most efficient electricity and gas network operators. A good 90 per cent of the electricity shipped by EWE NETZ GmbH comes from renewable sources. Its networks are some of the most reliable in Europe. EWE NETZ GmbH is expanding them and making them intelligent so that this remains the case.

EWE NETZ GmbH was established in 2006. Partners are EWE AG (95.9 per cent) and Kommunale Netzbeteiligung Nordwest GmbH & Co. KG (4.1 per cent) who represents 123 municipalities in the Ems-Weser-Elbe region.

About Next Kraftwerke GmbH

As a digital utility, Next Kraftwerke operates one of the largest Virtual Power Plants in Europe. The Next Pool networks around 8,700 decentralized energy-producing and energy-consuming units that are linked together via a digital platform, which enables each one to be managed by an in-house control system. With a total linked energy capacity of over 7,500 MW, Next Kraftwerke makes a substantial contribution to stabilizing fluctuation in the grid. In addition, the Cologne-based company optimizes energy production and consumption of each of its customers with price markers, and trades their power 24/7 on various European markets, such as EPEX and EEX.

About ‘SINTEG‘

Mit dem Förderprogramm „Schaufenster intelligente Energie – Digitale Agenda für die Energiewende“ (SINTEG) will das Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi) zeigen, wie die Zukunft der Energieversorgung aussehen kann.  Die Idee von SINTEG besteht darin, übertragbare Musterlösungen für eine sichere, wirtschaftliche und umweltverträgliche Energieversorgung bei veränderlicher Stromerzeugung aus erneuerbaren Energien zu entwickeln und zu demonstrieren. Geeignete Lösungen aus den Modellregionen sollen als Vorbild für eine breite Umsetzung in ganz Deutschland und europäischen Ländern dienen. In den fünf Schaufensterregionen kooperieren Partner aus der Energiewirtschaft sowie der Informations- und Kommunikationsbranche. Seit 2017 arbeiten mehr als 300 Unternehmen, Forschungseinrichtungen, Kommunen, Landkreise und Bundesländer gemeinsam an der der Umsetzung der Zukunftsvision Energiewende.