German government- funded smart grid project now under way


Berlin, Germany — (METERING.COM) — October 1, 2008 – The MEREGIO (Minimum Emission Region) project, which is receiving funding from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology as a winner of the E-Energy funding competition, is now under way.

The project, taking place in the region of Karlsruhe/Stuttgart, aims to use ICTs to minimize carbon emissions and to contribute to climate protection. The centerpiece of the concept is the development of a minimum emission certification procedure for the region demonstrating with high public visibility energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission reduction.

The MEREGIO project is based on three specific components – an e-energy marketplace for producers of electricity, end customers and intermediaries for coordinating the supply and demand of energy and complementary services, a sophisticated and innovative energy infrastructure, and a powerful information and communication infrastructure that links the infrastructure to the marketplace and controls it depending on the specific market situation at hand. The project focuses on developing technically economic concepts to implement the three components and put them to work in a pilot project with some 1,000 participants in the Karlsruhe/Stuttgart area.

Smart meters with bi-directional broadband communication interfaces will be installed at 800 consumer sites, 100 generation units and 100 storages for electrical energy. The meters and communication infrastructure will be used to detect the state of the grid at the medium and low voltage levels and if bottlenecks are detected, the system will automatically set price signals and send them to customers to manage their consumption, or if necessary will switch off power plants.

Currently it is the function of restrictive grid codes to avoid bottlenecks at subordinate voltage levels. As it will not possible to change the existing grid codes within the pilot project, bottlenecks at low and medium voltage will not occur in reality. Therefore, the project will also simulate load flows in a virtual network model. This online simulation will be used to analyze how the use of CO2 free energy resources could be maximized in a market oriented way if grid codes would change.

Another approach to cut CO2 emissions in the project will involve the increase of network capacity and reduction of network losses by introducing a marketplace for ancillary services. This marketplace will offer the possibility to trade products like reactive power. Such a marketplace, based on a network model, allows the efficient usages of the existing envelopes of generation units to avoid voltage overshoots and to minimize network losses.

Participants in the MEREGIO project include EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, ABB AG, IBM Deutschland GmbH, SAP AG, Systemplan GmbH, and the University of Karlsruhe.

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