Some 46 organisations have kickstarted DESIGNETZ, a programme designed to help Germany to accelerate its transition to low-carbon energy systems.
Utility E.ON has recently announced the project going live although the programme was officially started on Jan 1, 2017.
Other members participating in the €66 million ($79 million) initiative include BMW and Innogy.
Funding has been issued by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy through the SINTEG (Showcase Intelligent Energy) initiative.
The project, being deployed in three federal states North Rhine-Westphalia, Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate, will run over a period of years.
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The main aim is to investigate how a decentralised, digital and green energy system of the future will work.
Project partners are testing how integrating distributed energy resources such as battery storage and power to heat systems and utilitising real-time data can help improve overall grid reliability.
Participating organisations are currently setting up DERs (sub-projects), which will then be integrated into a single system.
Each and every sub-project will transmit their generation, consumption and storage capacities (flexibility) to the system cockpit via a decentralised data hub, the Energy Gateway.
An energy storage unit estimates, for example, how much electrical energy it can store or feed into the distribution network during the test period. The system cockpit uses weather data to calculate the expected network load and the optimal use of flexibility, reporting back to the systems which flexibility should be made available.
The results of the test will enable DESIGNETZ to integrate all its DERs into a single virtual power plant by 2035.
The main aim is to explore how network operators and flexibility providers can make flexibility usable or tradable for the market and in the distribution network in the future.
The project will also show how standardisation and digitisation must be further advanced and what the regulatory environment should look like so that technical flexibility potential can actually be used and the energy transition can succeed.
Thomas König, responsible for E.ON’s network business, says: “With DESIGNETZ going live, we have reached an important milestone. Based on the results, we will be able to show what the energy world of tomorrow may look like and which framework conditions the various actors still need to adapt in order for the energy transition to be successful. DESIGNETZ not only provides important impulses for us, but also for politics and regulation.”