E.ON is using digital technology to increase network efficiency: as part of the EU InterFlex project, E.ON subsidiary Avacon has put the Smart Grid Hub into live operation. This intelligent device is able to control grid-connected systems such as PV installations or battery storage remotely. In this way, the Smart Grid Hub ensures that the grid remains stable even if far too much or too little energy is generated locally. Avacon has installed smart meters in around 200 private households in Lower Saxony that transmit their data to the Smart Grid Hub.
Thorsten Gross, InterFlex project manager at Avacon, says: "The transformation of the energy sector must remain affordable. Solutions such as those now being tested in Lueneburg help to increase grid efficiency and thus reduce overall system costs."
InterFlex is part of the EU's largest research and innovation program (Horizon 2020) and has a budget of around €23 million. As our energy world changes, it aims to apply smart grid technology on an industrial scale in order to increase the marketability of renewable energy. Around 1.7 million decentralized generating plants such as wind turbines and photovoltaic plants now feed energy into the German electricity grid. Around 95 percent of the plants are connected to the distribution grid. In order to meet these new challenges, 20 project partners have joined forces within the framework of InterFlex. In five countries, they are developing innovative solutions that are intended to show new ways of making the electricity supply more flexible and optimizing it at the local level. The focus is on the consumer and their use of renewable energy. The project started at the beginning of 2017 and will run for three years.
In addition to the Avacon subproject in the Lueneburg region, E.ON is represented at InterFlex with two other projects, both in Sweden: E.ON Sverige in Malmö is investigating the integration of different energy sources using the thermal inertia of buildings as a flexibility measure. The aim is to optimize generation in a decentralized energy system and make it more environmentally friendly. In the southern Swedish village of Simris, E.ON Sverige supplies the residents with 100 percent green electricity on an insular basis (= self-sufficient supply). The energy for around 140 households is generated from wind turbines and photovoltaic systems. The system is completed with a battery system. On site, E.ON evaluates, among other things, the advantages of modern control of local energy systems for the distribution network operator.