Experts join forces to enable smart grids to help tackle the ongoing energy crisis
The term “smart grid” has been bandied about for years. Frequently mentioned in connection with smart meters, it has been used so many times as a buzzword without any real content to back it up, that it has become almost worn out before a global and meaningful implementation could be realised.
Today, however, things appear quite different. Talk of a smart grid within the narrow context of actual “digital grid management” has now become far more meaningful. Renewable energy forms (e.g. PV systems, battery storage, wind turbines, etc.), the vast number of other energy consuming technologies (e.g. hydrogen generation, large-scale DC applications, heat pumps, etc.) as well as the often advanced age of existing assets play a major role. Not only that, distribution system operators, as well as consumers, have to cope with skyrocketing energy prices and an energy shortage. As a result, measures to improve energy efficiency with an optimal CO2 balance are becoming increasingly important. Thus, the focus on active grid management and supply-secure grid operation is intensifying. A future-oriented grid management system for the low-voltage range distribution grid, to complement the possibly existing medium-voltage grid management systems appears to be essential.
All this has prompted the two established companies, Camille Bauer Metrawatt and Fichtner IT Consulting, to join forces. High-quality and fundamental measurement data are combined with intelligent digital grid management to fit each application.
Safeguarding grid stability
The concept developed by the two companies defines a secure approach based on well-founded and market-tested core components. It is based on the fundamental definition of a smart grid as described, for example, by the Swiss Federal Energy Office.
In short: it means to operate the existing grid digitally, and thus astutely avoid costly extensions that require a lot of expensive material (e.g. copper). In other words, a smart grid.
Since the cooperation involves the use and combination of proven and innovative technologies, it is advisable to proceed step by step. Both companies have a fundamentally scalable approach to: avoid overstretching the customer’s budget; generate productive benefits at an early stage; and ensure further expansion in line with current needs.
Consequently, the two companies propose a project implementation sequence in four steps. First is secure measurement at the low-voltage level to capture the reality in real-time through grid transparency. Next is generation of a complete digital image of the grid by deriving the grid status and topology from existing sources. The third step is presentation of an interactive visualisation of the measured values at the measuring points and the resulting grid status in the grid diagram (grid cockpit). The fourth step is finalisation of a topological end result with the provision of analyses, forecasts and automatic procedures about further developments in the grid status. And this available specifically for each department.
The benefit is significantly lower costs for hardware and control room software, no additional copper in the ground and ultimately a greatly reduced workload, which can even be totally eliminated wherever feasible.