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Smart grids for the ener­gy transition

Baden-Würt­tem­berg is rebuild­ing its pow­er grids for the future. Intel­li­gent net­works, so-called smart grids, improve the con­di­tions for a decen­tral­ized pow­er sup­ply and the inte­gra­tion of renew­able ener­gies and elec­tric­i­ty stor­age into the grid.

The num­ber of con­sumers active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing in the elec­tric­i­ty mar­ket is grow­ing steadi­ly. More and more elec­tric­i­ty is being gen­er­at­ed from solar and wind pow­er and fed into the grid on a decen­tral­ized basis. This new ener­gy world places high and com­plex demands on the net­work infrastructure.

To deal with these chal­lenges, the trans­for­ma­tion of pow­er grids into intel­li­gent and flex­i­ble net­works, so-called smart grids, is an impor­tant key ele­ment. The Min­istry of the Envi­ron­ment and Ener­gy of Baden-Würt­tem­berg is con­sis­tent­ly dri­ving for­ward the expan­sion of these net­works and the dig­i­ti­za­tion of the ener­gy tran­si­tion. Envi­ron­ment and Ener­gy Min­is­ter Thekla Walk­er report­ed on the spe­cif­ic efforts of the past two years to the Coun­cil of Min­is­ters on March 8, 2022. “For the new ener­gy world, we need smart and secure pow­er grids. In Baden-Würt­tem­berg, we are con­tin­u­ing to sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly dri­ve for­ward their expan­sion,” says Envi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Thekla Walker.

Dig­i­tal net­work­ing and coordination

Ener­gy Min­is­ter Thekla Walk­er said in Stuttgart on March 9, 2022: “Smart grids make it pos­si­ble to inter­con­nect and com­bine all the essen­tial ele­ments of the ener­gy sys­tem using dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies — from gen­er­a­tion to dis­tri­b­u­tion and stor­age to con­sump­tion.” Sup­ply and demand can thus be con­tin­u­ous­ly matched to ensure a secure and effi­cient ener­gy supply.

“In the coali­tion agree­ment, we stip­u­lat­ed that we would con­tin­ue to advance these dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies and appli­ca­tions for the ener­gy tran­si­tion in the state. Now we need to con­tin­ue and expand the many activ­i­ties that we have already suc­cess­ful­ly ini­ti­at­ed in recent years,” she continued.

Research, pro­mote and bring together

Over the past two years, the Min­istry of Envi­ron­ment has con­tin­ued sev­er­al for­mats to pro­mote smart grids. These include the already ongo­ing and suc­cess­ful fund­ing pro­grams “Demon­stra­tion Projects Smart Grids and Stor­age” and “INPUT — Intel­li­gent Grid Con­nec­tion of Park­ing Garages and Under­ground Garages”, in which 28 projects were sup­port­ed with 10.7 mil­lion euros in a total of three fund­ing rounds.

The “Smart Grids Research — Dig­i­tal­ly Con­nect­ed” fund­ing pro­gram was suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed in 2021, with which the Min­istry of the Envi­ron­ment pro­vid­ed one mil­lion euros in fund­ing for three projects on sup­ply qual­i­ty, grid plan­ning and sec­tor cou­pling.

A new project that was launched last year is “Smart East.” Over a peri­od of three years, one mil­lion euros are now avail­able to trans­form a het­ero­ge­neous com­mer­cial area in the Ost­stadt dis­trict of Karl­sruhe into an ener­gy-opti­mized smart quar­ter: an impor­tant light­house project that is intend­ed to show how a smart quar­ter can be built and what mar­ket­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties there are for emerg­ing ener­gy opti­miza­tion potential.