Smart grid and smart market in Germany – key elements


Matthias Kurth,
Bonn, Germany — (METERING.COM) — January 11, 2012 – There should be a clear separation of the areas of smart grids and smart markets, according to Germany’s Federal Network Agency Bundesnetzagentur, in a new “key elements” paper aimed at shedding further light on these topics.

Specifically in the future more efforts should be focused on the market while the grids are assigned more of an auxiliary role, according to the paper. Grid specific topics such as network expansion and system stability are particularly significant issues for energy transformation, but they should not dominate the entire discussion.

The paper, Smart Grid and Smart Market, sets out to question how the energy supply system needs to be changed in the course of the transformation of the energy system.

The paper considers six central themes:

  • Network capacity and energy as criteria for understanding the grid and market
  • Stratification of the discussion on the future of the energy "smart grid" and "smart market"
  • The energy future will require more market responsibility and the growth of negotiated settlements
  • Smart meters are part of the energy future but not its prerequisite
  • The smart grid is evolutionary, not revolutionary
  • To advance renewable energy objectives it is imperative that manufacturers and producers respond early.

The paper states that the transformation of the energy system requires a shift in thinking on the part of the industry. The industry must move concertedly and quickly to define in a clear and non-discriminatory manner the interface between the tasks of the grid and those rooted in the area of market competition. There will be no easy solutions, as there is neither one specific smart grid component that equips grids for future energy scenarios, nor is there a master plan for successful market models.

Measures to boost grid capacity and control capabilities are part of the area of smart grids. Network operators are responsible for the deployment of the technology and IT components for communications, measurement, control engineering and automation. The area of smart markets, by contrast, includes measures such as those aimed at improving the integration of renewable energy sources into market processes, or at influencing consumption, for example through innovative tariff systems or services.

“Already today, the transmission networks can for the most part be considered smart,” commented Matthias Kurth, president of the Bundesnetzagentur. “At the distribution network level, the key issues will be both additional deployment and the intelligent control of grids. It is the responsibility of network operators to find a technologically and economically efficient mix of network expansion and network intelligence.”

Smart meters are in large part a component of smart markets and could make a significant contribution in that area. “However, new meters should not be installed quietly and inconspicuously in consumers’ basements. Instead, they must be marketed together with attractive tariffs and services,” Kurth concluded.