Intelligence test for the power grid of the future


Published: 8. April 2020

System operators and several energy companies in Germany have successfully tested the smart grid of the future: For the first time, they have run a nationwide test under real conditions to steer decentralized electricity consumers, storage facilities and generators by linking two online platforms, to jointly avoid future grid congestions and stabilize the power grid if necessary. The project is the first cooperation of the two federally funded SINTEG projects C/sells and enera. Both projects have developed online platforms on which decentralized 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.

Intelligence test for the power grid of the future
Intelligence test for the power grid of the future
"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. The graph shows the load curve of a biogas plant that Next Kraftwerke controlled within the scope of the coordinated call-off. The biogas plant is connected to the distribution network. On a signal (red) from the transmission system operator, it has started up its feed-in (green).
"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. The graph shows the load curve of a biogas plant that Next Kraftwerke controlled within the scope of the coordinated call-off. The biogas plant is connected to the distribution network. On a signal (red) from the transmission system operator, it has started up its feed-in (green).

Today, grid congestions from north to south Germany are becoming more and more frequent, partly due to the increasing decentralized 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.

According to the system operators involved, Avacon Netz GmbH, Bayernwerk Netz GmbH and EWE NETZ GmbH, the future of energy generation is decentralized 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 stabilizing the grid.


Next Kraftwerke
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Next Kraftwerke operates one of the biggest Virtual Power Plants in Europe. By utilizing the full potential of digitalization, the company networks thousands of energy-producing and energy-consuming units in the Virtual Power Plant “Next Pool”. Through its technology and trading, clients are able to produce and consume electricity when prices are best for them. By trading their aggregated power 24/7 on different energy spot markets the Virtual Power Plant also makes a substantial contribution to stabilizing the grid by smartly distributing the power generated and consumed by the individual units in times of peak load.