Energy / Smart Grid
M2M Solutions Improve Energy Efficiency
M2M solutions are an important building block of the energy turnaround. Connected sensors and smart grids create far-reaching advantages.
In December 2015 the Paris climate summit ended with a historic agreement. All 196 states signed an agreement undertaking to limit global warming. Smart information and communications technology are an important building block in the energy turnaround. Using smart ICT solutions reduces global CO2 emissions by up to 20 percent, according to the SMARTer2030 report by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI).
The report states that connected sensors and smart grids generate far-reaching economic, ecological and social advantages. M2M solutions make smart grids possible and enable power utilities to distribute loads more efficiently. Consumers can also reduce energy costs by using smart meters.
To integrate renewables, setting up smart grids is essential. In the future, network nodes must exchange not only energy but also data.
The energy turnaround has long been under way. Power grids are no longer analog and no longer operate in isolation; they are digital, connected, smart grids. Integrating renewables into the electricity supply presupposes a smart grid infrastructure. With decentralized electricity generation in the energy network of the future, consumers are producers too, and network utilization will fluctuate strongly as a result of the irregular feed-in of electricity.
“Only by means of digitization can electricity generation, buildings and traffic be connected smartly and made more efficient” (Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy)
Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, stresses that “only by means of digitization can electricity generation, buildings and traffic be connected smartly and made more efficient.” Modernization and swift expansion of power grids are, he says, essential for a successful energy turnaround.
Network Nodes Must Exchange Data
By 2022 Germany’s last three nuclear reactors are due to go offline and the share of renewables will amount to around 40 percent.
Conventional power grids would be unable to handle this change. At present, the grids are not designed to handle a substantial proportion of volatile electricity generated locally. To strike a balance between supply and demand, network nodes must exchange not only energy but also data.
So setting up smart grids is inevitable. For the energy industry, smart grids are not just indispensable but also an opportunity. The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research and the IT industry association Bitkom anticipate an overall societal benefit of EUR 55.7 billion per annum, of which nine billion will benefit the energy sector.
Smart Local Network Stations
Deutsche Telekom, together with partners, has already developed smart local network stations that for the first time make it possible to adjust the local network voltage continuously to the amount of electricity generated by renewables. If, for example, many photovoltaic systems feed electricity into a local network, undesirable voltage fluctuations can occur.
Benefits for Energy Providers
- Dynamic pricing and load balancing improves profitability
- Engage customers to more eco-friendly usage
- Real-time monitoring of supply and demand
- Automated reactions to changes in supply and demand
In the past, operators regularly had to take power plants offline because of the risk of network overload. With smart local network stations, operators can feed electricity into the grids even if photovoltaic systems are generating peak power in a local network.
Furthermore, power utilities are using a Telekom M2M solution to merge house owners’ electricity-generating heating systems into virtual power stations and to control them remotely. In the Smart Grid the many small, decentralized plants in this way become a hidden reserve for use in times when renewables do not supply enough electricity.