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Siemens: the Integration of Regenerative Energy and Electric Mobility 2012.06.21

Kempten, Germany - June 20, 2012 - Siemens and the utility company Allgäuer Überlandwerk (AÜW) in the city of Kempten, Germany, together with the RWTH university in Aachen and Kempten University, are testing a smart grid in the Allgäu village of Wildpoldsried. The joint project IRENE was launched in 2011 and will run for two years. Today, this community of 2,500 inhabitants already produces more than three times as much green energy as is being consumed.

Looking to the future – The smart grids of tomorrow.
Press trip to Wildpoldsried, the Allgäu village of energy pioneers.
Courtesy of Siemens press pictures

Kempten, Germany - June 20, 2012

Looking to the future – The smart grids of tomorrow – the "Integration of Regenerative Energy and Electric Mobility"

Siemens and the utility company Allgäuer Überlandwerk (AÜW) in the city of Kempten, Germany, together with the RWTH university in Aachen and Kempten University, are testing a smart grid in the Allgäu village of Wildpoldsried.

The joint project IRENE was launched in 2011 and will run for two years.

Today, this community of 2,500 inhabitants already produces more than three times as much green energy as is being consumed.

The village of power pioneers is living the future of energy.
Courtesy of Siemens press pictures
The huge surpluses of ecofriendly energy and their fluctuations are often a severe strain on the local grid.

That's why this is the best place for engineers to learn under real-life conditions how to keep Germany's grids stable ten or twenty years from now.

A community welcomes E-cars - Buffers for ecofriendly power (fiat 500).
Courtesy of Siemens press pictures
Cows for biogas, solar modules on the roofs, windmills on the wooded hillside: The community of Wildpoldsried in Germany's Allgäu region produces over three times more energy than it needs using renewable sources.

With around 2,500 inhabitants, Wildpoldsried is one of the smallest independent communities in the Oberallgäu district of southern Germany.

But it is probably also the community with the greatest vision – and the site of the most comprehensive test of Germany's energy future.

Intelligence for the new power age. How a smart grid works.
Courtesy of Siemens press pictures
A smart grid ensures that renewable energies can be better integrated into the grid by permitting a bidirectional flow of energy – from generators to consumers and vice versa – (orange line) and a bidirectional flow of communication (blue line).

Whereas in conventional power supply networks generation follows consumption, a smart grid also controls consumption as a function of the availability of electrical energy in the grid.

Germany's new energy policy – a complex puzzle of measures.
Courtesy of Siemens press pictures
Germany's new energy policy will require a wide range of measures – measures that will have to fit together perfectly like the parts of a puzzle and that Siemens offers and develop: a wide range of competitive renewable energies, power highways and smart grids, energy storage devices and highly efficient solutions for conventional power plants and the energy consumption in buildings, transportation, and industry.

A look into the new energy age - The energy revolution becomes a reality.
Courtesy of Siemens press pictures
As a pioneering community in all forms of renewables, Wildpoldsried is the ideal place to explore under real-life conditions the energy scenario that is expected to prevail in Germany in 2020, and to find ways to keep the grids stable even with a high percentage of renewable energies.

The pilot project "Integration of Regenerative Energy and Electric Mobility" (IRENE), which is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and designed to test the smart grids of the future, was jointly launched in Allgäu by Allgäuer Überlandwerke GmbH (AÜW), Siemens AG, Kempten University and RWTH Aachen University.

The grid of the future.
Courtesy of Siemens press pictures
The village of Wildpoldsried in the Allgäu region of Germany demonstrates how the German grid might look in the next decade

If the percentage of power from renewable sources such as the wind and sun continues to increase, many measurement stations, variable network components and powerful software – in other words, a smart grid – will be required to keep the grids stable.

The IRENE project serves to identify technical and business solutions that will help keep the grid stable – even with higher percentages of renewable energies such as wind and solar and the fluctuating, decentralized power infeed thus produced – while ensuring a reliable power supply.

Power pioneers - Wind, sun, biogas, and lots of gumption.
Courtesy of Siemens press pictures
The reason: While fifteen years ago, there were only a few hundred energy generators feeding power into Germany's grids, in the future, there will be millions, including solar, wind, and biomass systems, as well as small combined heat and power plants.

What were formerly energy consumers will increasingly become producers as well – the region surrounding Wildpoldsried (pictured here) is showing the way.

Visionaries in a community in Oberallgäu.
Courtesy of Siemens press pictures
The community of Wildpoldsried is home to a number of "idealists" who are responsible for the fact that such a large amount of energy is generated from renewable sources

The village produces more than three times as much energy as is being consumed.

One of these energy pioneers is the Reichart family, which operates its own large biogas plant and feeds the electrical energy back into the power grid operated by Allgäuer Überlandwerk GmbH.

Smart biogas - Intelligent control.
Courtesy of Siemens press pictures
Smart control systems control the power produced by plants and its infeed into the grid.

If more electricity is generated than is consumed, the additional electricity will be returned to the upstream grid and the conventional direction of the power flow will be reversed.

The grid components are not designed for feeding power back into the network, and overloads could occur.

One possible way to prevent this would be to expand the grids and transformer stations. However, such expansions are expensive and consume valuable resources.

Keeping a balance - It's So Easy.
Courtesy of Siemens press pictures
The IRENE project takes a different approach: The components are intelligently controlled and the electricity and voltage are limited.

Thus the smart grid ensures stability in the grid and balances consumption and generation.

The intelligent software system So Easy from Siemens Corporate Technology balances power supply and demand.

This self-organizing energy automation system is a fundamental part of the research project. Personal Local Energy Agents — autonomous software modules — control the interaction between decentralized consumers and producers and the grid.

Every "prosumer" has such an agent, which can be used to reserve centralized services such as weather forecasts or system optimizations via a marketplace.

In the future, So Easy will optimize the timing of power generation from the large number of photovoltaic, wind, hydroelectric and biogas systems connected to the Allgäu electricity grid, as well as power consumption patterns and the storage of energy generated from renewable sources.

The research project has made up to 32 electric vehicles available to private and business customers over a two-year period.

A community welcomes E-cars - Buffers for ecofriendly power.
Courtesy of Siemens press pictures
These cars are preferably to, be charged using the environmentally friendly energy sources. And in the future they should be integrated into a "smart grid" to serve as power reservoirs when there is a surplus of electricity, feeding the electricity back into the grid at times of peak demand.

To keep the grids stable, Siemens has installed a variable transformer for the local grid in Wildpoldsried that offsets voltage fluctuations – a device that is normal in high-voltage grids but was previously unknown in secondary-voltage local networks.

Everything's under control - Intelligent control.
Courtesy of Siemens press pictures
In the case of variable transformers for the local grid, voltage values are measured at the busbar in the transformer station and compared to the selected set point.

If the two measured values do not match, the transformer raises or lowers the voltage to the set point.

The result: There are no voltage increases and the voltage quality is the same throughout the grid.

Source: Siemens AG


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