Germany: Siemens and SWK create smart grid in Wachtendonk

26. November 2012 | Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By:  Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger

Siemens Infrastructure & Cities and the municipal utility SWK STADTWERKE KREFELD AG (SWK) are working together to transform the existing power grid in a municipality in North Rhine-Westphalia. The project "Wachtendonk is doing its part - Researching the grid" is seen as a testbed to boost smart grid solutions, something essential for Germany's new energy policy.

Smart meters will be installed in 100 homes in Wachtendonk.

The 8,000-strong Wachtendonk has been selected as the smart grid model region thanks to its high percentage of distributed power generation plants that feed into the grid, with about 80% of its power coming from renewable sources like rooftop PV. The behavior of a distribution network with a disproportionately high number of renewable energy sources will thus be studied with this test project. A data transmission system from the network to the SWK control center will also be developed and secured via this project. The technical components will be put to the test to get insights into possible further improvements for smart grid implementation.

Smart meters will be installed in 100 homes and in cable distribution boxes for the necessary measurements. For this purpose, Siemens has equipped its smart meters with an add-on function through which important data relating to the network status can be recorded and forwarded. The power snapshot analysis undertaken allows "snapshots" to be taken of the otherwise "blind" low-voltage system in the form of synchronous network parameters. This enables the meters to do more than just record energy consumption. They double up as low-voltage senors which deliver data to analyse the power distribution grid in Wachtendonk.  This will help seek ways to improve the stability and transparency of the grid. If a specific threshold is exceeded or undershot, the smart meters transmit the network data via power lines to the secondary substation and from there to SWK so that countermeasures respectively stabilization can be immediately initiated.

Siemens will be supplying the necessary devices for smart secondary substations, smart meters and measuring, monitoring, and communication technology. SWK will combine these individual components into a smart system and test them in specially selected low-voltage networks.

"Germany's new energy policy cannot be implemented without smart grids. To that end, the power distribution grids must be further automated and become more intelligent, and in this field Siemens has the most comprehensive portfolio in the industry. We're putting smart grid theory into practice in Wachtendonk. Together with SWK, we're sending an important signal for building the future grid infrastructure in Germany," said Jan Mrosik, CEO of the Smart Grid Division in the Siemens Infrastructure & Cities Sector.


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