Secure Smart Grid Load Balancer

 A team of companies and the municipal utilites Kehlheim want to develop an instrument to ensure an efficient energy consumption.

Today's debate about the energy change will be dominated by the question about feeding and transport - such as the Bavarian electrical power line. Which plants are going to produce energy for the German consumers and companies? Which grids will be needed? Another important component is drifting out of focus; the energy consumption. This value fluctuates during the day - that's why it gets more and more important to adapt it to the actual power supply.

Automatic current conctrol

Intelligent power meters should help to solve this problem. So called SmartMeter systems are to measure electricity consumption of households and compare it to the current power supply. Of the electricity supply is abundant, because many wind or solar plants are operating, the electricity prices are going to decline. Here the intelligent power meter should ensure a particular high energy consumption - maybe by automatically starting the washing machine or charging the electric vehicle - unless the customer really wants that. In the district of Kehlheim, a similar project called "Smart Grid Load Balancer" is currently being considered - only the fact that the approach is different. Therefore, the municipal utilites Kehlheim, the University of Regensburg, as well as the companies EBSnet/eEnergy, evopro Systems engineering, genua mbH and Sener-Tec-Center combined forces. The municipal utilites Kehlheim and their customers serve as application partners. there are currently only Smart Meters available on the market that are fixed installed instead of the conventional electricity meter. The project group wants to develop a so called MicroSmartMeter (MSM). The considerable difference is that it can be connected to any power outlet.

The municipal utilites are able to operate

The MSM is designed for usual households. Therefore it should be affordable and amortize within two or three years. The customer puts it between socket and for example plug of the freezer. The electricity consumption of the device will be calculated. Now the topical aim of the municipal utilites is to switch devices on and off by the MSM. According to Mr. Gerhard Hinz from the municipal utilites , this is an advantage in various regards_ "With this, we would be capable of ensuring relief when there ocur load peaks. It doesn't help to switch off a freezerfor 10 minutes - but of we do this in 1000 households, we have to buy less electricity in addition." On the other side, the network expansion could be spread over a number of years by this reduction. The targeted savings would be about 80.000 - 100.000 euros per year. Furthermore, power demanding devices like washing machines or dryer could be switched on only when there is a lot of electricity produced by wind and solar panels.

However this project is still in its infancy and brings a lot of imponderables: A device pool has to be developed and all the devices switched off have to be checked if there are really savings or how far the customers are able to determine the time window for on/off switch by themselves.

Costs: 1.4 million euros

  • The project will last for 30 months, from January 2014. The costs amount to about 1.4 million euros, whereby the research project is funded with the Bavarian ministry for economy in the framework of ICT Bavaria.
  • The participants are the municipal utilites Kehlheim, the University of Regensburg, as well as the companies EBSnet/eEnergy, evopro Systems engineering, genua mbH and Sener-Tec-Center.