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18. February 2016

The future of the energy industry is digital and flexible

The focus of discussions on the second day of E-world was the future of the energy industry and energy supplies. Digitalisation is electrifying the industry in particular, and has been one of the major topics of the trade fair.

Digitalisation in focus

The smart meter rollout is a mammoth task. At one of the specialist conferences, the trade fair service-provider Voltaris admitted that not all the requirements of the digitalisation law could be implemented immediately. We want to roll out the devices as soon as possible, but we also want to put devices on the market which can stay there,” said Tilo Bornheimer, Energy Services Manager, Voltaris.

The Markets and System Operation Director at 50 Hertz, Dirk Biermann, gave his opinion on the question of who should get access to consumers’ data at what level. Transmission and distribution network operators should obtain the necessary data equally from the smart-meter gateways. He called for the discussion on how to proceed to be carried out in a less emotive fashion. “We are not Google”, he commented on misgivings.

Site flexibility

The need for flexibility in the electricity market was still considerable, was the view of the consultancy firm Energy Brainpool. Without progress and with today’s level of market flexibility, there would be around 150 billion kWh which would not be absorbed by the market. That would correspond to two billion Euros per year, according to the company.

At one of the numerous podiums in the trade fair halls, in this case the Stadtwerkekooperation Südweststrom, Professor Uwe Leprich of the Saarbrück Institute said that in the control of power station load and demand for electricity, public utilities actually had an additional revenue stream.

Although he was, in fact, contradicted on this.  Achim Kötzle, Director of the Tübingen public utilities, said: “A business segment with a certain profit margin exists.” Of course a public utility with 100,000 customers has a structural disadvantage relative to large players with several million customers.

Opportunities for natural gas

By 2035, Germany could reduce CO2 emissions by a third to 524 million tonnes with natural gas. Without natural gas, it would be impossible to reach the climate protection targets, said the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Zukunft Erdgas (“Future of Natural Gas”), Ulrich Danco, at the presentation of its 2015 annual report at E-world.

Smart cooperations

Eon and Siemens are driving forward the rollout of smart meters. They signed a cooperation agreement to this effect at E-world. In future, Eon Metering GmbH will use Siemens’ “EnergyIP” software. Both cooperation partners would like to offer even smaller public utilities the gateway administration and meter data management solutions.

The Essen App developer Energy App Provider (EAP) used E-world to announce its partnership with the software company “Anyline”. As part of this cooperation, EAP has integrated optical character recognition (OCR) of meter readings as a new feature in its Smart Living App. Using the photo function of their mobile phones, end users could scan the meter reading and Anyline would then transmit these directly to the interfaces of the relevant  energy supplier.

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