German government’s eTelligence smart grid project wraps up


Stefan Birkner,
Oldenburg, Germany — (METERING.COM) — December 14, 2012 – The German government supported eTelligence smart grid project has recently come to a successful conclusion after four years of operation.

The project, one of six in the E-Energy initiative and the first to be completed, was undertaken in the Cuxhaven region in northern Germany.

It was aimed to test a complex control system to balance fluctuating windpower and integrate it into the grid. The core component was a regional electricity marketplace bringing together producers, consumers with shiftable loads, energy service providers and grid operators – in this case two cold storage depots, a waste water treatment plant, the Cuxhaven municipal swimming pool, a wind farm, and a block-type thermal power station, as well as 650 households.

Among the results eTelligence demonstrated that especially thermal energy systems, such as cold storage depots and block-type thermal power stations, can be used very effectively as energy storage facilities, achieving savings of up to 8 percent of their normal electricity costs. When a lot of wind is available, the cold storage depot lowers its temperature, creating a cold buffer for itself. When electricity prices are high, the depot can be run on the cold buffer for periods as long as days, thereby reducing its demand and in turn its electricity costs.

The participating households, who had smart meters installed and were provided with different feedback systems, also reduced their electricity consumption by an average 13percent.

“Here in Cuxhaven we see the practical test (of the energy future) with ordinary consumers,” commented Environment minister Stefan Birkner. “This requires intelligent solutions, and consumers who are willing to try new things.”

eTelligence was led by energy company EWE. Other participants included consultants BTC, renewable integration service provider energy & meteo systems, the Fraunhofer-Verbund Energie labs, the informatics institute OFFIS, and the applied ecology institute Öko-Institut.

The E-Energy program is a research priority of the Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) with support from the Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, which started in 2008 and is scheduled to end in 2013.

The other projects are:

  • E-DeMa, which is investigating intelligent consumption management and the near time capture and provision of consumption data in the Rhine Ruhr region
  • MeRegio project, in which 1,000electricity customers from Freiamt in the Black Forest and
  • Goppingen are testing the smart home
  • MoMa, which is testing new control devices named “energy butlers” in 200 households in Mannheim
  • RegModHarz, which is mainly concerned with the joint marketing of regionally available renewable producers and flexibilities grouped into a virtual power station in the Harz region
  • Smart Watts, which aims to provide an information and control model providing near time production and consumption data in Aachen.