Thomas Wiedemann: “The challenges for the distribution systems are similar in many countries, especially in terms of integrating renewables. The initial situations in the individual countries vary. Exchanging experiences is a priority. We can learn from our European neighbours and they can learn from us. This saves resources for all participants and paves the way for standardising new technologies.”
Leading distribution system operators from six European countries have joined forces in the Grid4EU project in order to exchange their experiences with smart grids and to drive the technology forward together.
Six individual projects focus on different aspects of grid development. Since the participants operate more than 50 per cent of all metering points in Europe, the results are highly representative. Grid4EU receives a total of €25.5 million in European Union funding. The overall budget of the project is €54 million.
700 systems feed into the grid in Reken.
In Reken, in Germany’s Münsterland region, innogy is testing how the technology of existing power grids can be optimised in such a way that they can respond quicker to fluctuating feed-ins with electricity generated from renewable energy sources. The municipality of Reken with its urban-rural structures provides good conditions for the model project. Here, 700 systems that produce electricity from renewable sources are already feeding into the grid.
This intelligent grid management aims at optimising the electricity at the local level. This means: if plenty of electricity is produced when the sun shines brightly and a fresh wind blow across Reken, and if the demand for electricity by large companies is high at the same time, the smart grid ensures that the energy that is produced locally is consumed locally as well.
Five questions – five answers
The project leaders Thomas Wiedemann and Prof. Lars Jendernalik talk about the exchange with other EU countries, the contribution from the sciences and the technological upgrade of the Reken distribution grid.
27 partners from six countries are working together on the transition of the European energy sector. What is the background? How do the EU countries benefit from each other?
Do you exchange your knowledge with your colleagues from European distribution system operators? Will the technology soon be used in Sweden, Italy and the Czech Republic as well?
Thomas Wiedemann: “As a matter of principle, we exchange concepts, experiences and insights with each other during the project. Our efforts to standardise the concepts we are testing throughout Europe make this exchange easier. Our partners show at least great interest in our plans. The final decision lies with the individual partners, of course.”
Scientists are essential partners in the project. What was their contribution?
Lars Jendernalik: “We, as innogy and Westnetz, brought the basic ideas and concepts to the table. Our research partner TU Dortmund University developed the innovative algorithms and tested them in the lab. The collaboration of science and industry has proven to be very successful.”
How extensive was the restructuring and upgrade of the Reken distribution grid?
Lars Jendernalik: “The aim of the project is to upgrade the grid as efficiently as possible. During the project we equip only a small number of existing substations with innovative technology so that initially we can gain a good insight into the current load situation within the grid. Based on those values we can respond to the grid status with our newly installed switching options. We have introduced seven switching options into the grid in total and also added eleven monitoring points.”
Was this new technology developed especially for the grid requirements in Reken?
Thomas Wiedemann: “No. Even though the concept is being tested in practice in Reken, we made sure that the concepts are also transferable to other grid areas.”