A smart grid project will cut energy consumption and minimize CO2 emissions by integrating an entire power grid system — generation, distribution and consumption — into a single, interactive real-time network. The project is under development for pilot deployment in the Karlsruhe-Stuttgart region of southern Germany, one of the most densely populated areas of the country and widely considered Europe’s biggest manufacturing and high-tech hub.
The objective of the project is to build an optimized and sustainable power network that reduces CO2 emissions to as close to zero as is technically feasible and humanly possible — a so-called Minimum Emissions Region (MEREGIO). The solution is to integrate clean energy generated by solar panels, wind turbines, fuel cells and other sources of distributed generation and provide the grid operator with real-time information about the entire power network in terms of supply and consumer demand. This will enable the operator to predict power flow, adapt rapidly to changing situations, send price signals to the consumer to encourage demand or restrain it if there is risk of a bottleneck, and foster a regional energy market that incorporates end customers.
Consumers will be able to monitor their energy consumption and CO2 footprint, respond to price signals and adapt consumption according to price and availability, and sell surplus power from their own generators to the grid when price conditions are most favorable. MERIGIO is a collaborative project between ABB and consortium partners IBM, SAP, EnBW (Germany’s third largest utility), Systemplan Engineering and the University of Karlsruhe.
Recently selected by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology as a winner of the “E-Energy: ICT-based Energy System of the Future” award, the pilot will incorporate about 1,000 households, industrial consumers, generating units and energy storage units, each equipped with a smart meter. ABB (www.abb.com) is a partner in the project and will develop and install the network control system, including new functions for optimal integration of decentralized generation as well as interfaces to automated meter reading and commercial marketplace systems.