SmartFarm2: Smart energy for rural areas

Renewable energies are among the most important sources of electricity in Germany. Their expansion is a central pillar of the energy transition. The project “SmartFarm2” of the University of Bremen and its partners helps to find out how to optimize private self-consumption with renewable energy. Initial tests are to be carried out on more than one hundred buildings in the Osterholz district and in the Allgäu region. Interested parties from these regions can participate in the project. “SmartFarm2” is being funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy for three years with over 1.4 million euros.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, more than 50 percent of electricity from renewable energies (RE) was fed into the grids for the first time in 2020. The use goes hand in hand with a high demand for space. As a result, rural areas in particular are seeing an increase in the number of such facilities. This results in new areas of activity for the people who live and work there. Farmers, for example, become energy farmers.

First subsidies for photovoltaic and wind plants expire

For the first photovoltaic (PV) systems, the legally guaranteed remuneration under the Renewable Energy Sources Act expired at the end of 2020, as this is only valid for 20 years per system. The first wind turbines will also no longer be subsidised. However, the continued operation of old PV and wind plants after the expiry of the statutory remuneration obligations is desirable. Not only to be able to use the energy produced. For operators of such plants, it may well be worthwhile to switch to self-consumption.

Project aims to equip over a hundred buildings with easy-to-use sensor technology

This is where the “SmartFarm2” project from the Center for Technomathematics (ZeTeM) at the University of Bremen comes in. It wants to show potentials how private users can optimize their own consumption. “We want to set up a test field with over a hundred so-called real demonstrators,” says project leader Professor Christof Büskens of the university’s ZeTeM. Examples of buildings include dairy farms, pig farms, greenhouses and schools. “We want to equip these buildings with easily manageable sensor technology,” he said, “to capture the high-resolution, time-of-day consumer and producer data that has not been available before.” Based on this data, the methods of artificial intelligence (AI) and mathematical optimisation algorithms can be used to demonstrate the economic potential of optimising self-consumption. Based on this, a highly automated energy management system (EMS) is then developed.

Participation possible
Interested parties in the vicinity of Osterholz and in the Allgäu region can take part in the project – especially owners of small and medium-sized farms or municipal facilities. Information is available at

Funding of over 1.4 million euros
“SmartFarm2” is being funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy for three years with over 1.4 million euros. In addition to the University of Bremen, the project partners are the Steinbeis Innovation Center for Optimization, Control and Regulation, which is coordinating the project, and the two SMEs nD-enerserve from Hanover and Q3 ENERGIE from Kaufbeuren.