Berlin, 18th January 2017: e*Nergy, the remote control solution by Berlin mobile network operator e*Message Wireless Information Services Deutschland GmbH, is a legally compliant and meaningful application in light of the Act on the Digitisation of the Energy Transition (GDEW). Already available, it could complement the imminent smart meter roll-out aimed at creating a Germany-wide smart grid. These are the findings from a current study commissioned by e*Message and carried out by the audit firm Ernst & Young.
The Act on the Digitisation of the Energy Transition (GDEW) from 8th July 2016 changes the business models of distribution network operators in view of the use of information and communication technologies (ICT). In light of this, the Berlin e*Message Wireless Information Services Deutschland GmbH commissioned the audit firm Ernst & Young to conduct a study to analyse how the remote control solution e*Nergy might be utilised for the control of energy consumption and generation applications. The GDEW requirements and provisions, and particularly those from the Measuring Point Operations Act (MsbG), were analysed and the basic advantages and disadvantages were compared with those of alternative communication technology solutions.
e*Nergy, which was co-developed by e*Message and Stromnetz Berlin GmbH in collaboration with Bosch Software Innovations GmbH, was created to support the necessary digitisation of distribution networks. e*Nergy already makes it possible to control loads and generation facilities, including EEG facilities, securely, highly efficiently and cost-effectively via Europe’s largest security radio network which is available throughout Germany and operated by e*Message.
The study found that e*Nergy provides all distribution network and metering point operators (DNO/MPO) with an immediately available solution which addresses the two central challenges - cost pressure and secure, fast and simultaneous grid-conducive switching of multiple facilities - and provides several approaches: e*Nergy with its unidirectional and secure communication channel is able to trigger identical switching operations on hundreds or thousands of facilities almost simultaneously and with low latency. Furthermore, e*Nergy can be utilised as a hybrid service as part of the metering point operation by taking over the DNO’s essential switching and control operations, thereby complementing the MPO’s existing communication solution. Finally, e*Nergy is also suitable as a back-up security solution for switching operations at medium or low voltage, in order to support an existing alternative communication solution with its high availability and reduce the risk of failure.
Ernst & Young’s legal analysis showed “that these solutions comply without restriction with the legal requirements. Although there are several legal provisions in EnWG and EEG with regard to when switching operations for controlling consumption or generation facilities should or can take place, no requirements were included in the law - particularly the Measuring Point Operations Act - compelling the network operator to use the smart meter gateway and having to initiate switching operations via the MPO. As such, the network operator is free to use a complementary infrastructure.”
“e*Nergy is a building block for the new smart power grids. The remote control solution complies with the law and is tamper-proof and efficient - and above all it is available immediately,” stresses Dr Dietmar Gollnick, CEO of e*Message. “The findings of the study confirm what we have already experienced in Berlin for the past two years or so.” The control solution e*Nergy, which was awarded the Berlin Brandenburg Innovation Prize in 2014, is currently used for the efficient remote control of EEG facilities, heat pumps, night storage heaters and non-public street lights throughout the Berlin power grid.
“The immediate availability of e*Nergy means that there is no reason to continue using the outdated ripple control system. The latter presents a considerable safety risk,” says Gollnick and refers to cases which have come to light, in which distributed systems stopped working properly.
Alongside the technical and legal analysis, the study also looks at the profitability of using e*Nergy and arrives at the conclusion “that in many cases there may be a microeconomic advantage in using a parallel communication infrastructure tailored to the respective requirements than trying to cover all uses with one expensive solution.” As such, the current e*Nergy solution provides an alternative which could already be used in the smart meter roll-out.
Current findings expand on 2013 study
In a 2013 “smart meter roll-out cost-benefit analysis” commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs, the audit firm Ernst & Young already shed light on how grid-conducive metering systems are necessary for the overall economic profitability of a smart meter roll-out. However, when actually preparing the roll-out, it became apparent that the DNO/MPO will be unable to fully meet the requirements for grid-conducive control - particularly with the cost pressure of overall economic profitability - even just with regard to the smart meter gateway and the communication infrastructure planned for it.
As a result of this and the current study 2016, e*Message will continue to develop and distribute the e*Nergy control solution together with its technological partners, in order to support the affordable implementation of the digital energy transition. Firstly, the current e*Nergy solution is already being provided to DNOs throughout Germany as a remote control service with a software as a service (SaaS). Secondly, there are plans to develop an optimised control solution and thus the use of a hybrid switch unit (control box) equipped with a CLS interface (Controllable Local System) to connect to a smart meter gateway. This control box, equipped with an e*Nergy receiver, can also lead to the full integration of e*Nergy functionalities in the smart grid.
A summary of the up-to-date EY study findings are available here:
The e*Message Wireless Information Services GmbH (e*Message Europe) operates Europe’s largest security radio network. As one of four mobile network operators on the German market, e*Message maintains a satellite-based radio network with around 800 transmitting stations throughout Germany which is independent from public networks. e*Message provides specialised messaging services focusing on security, mobile organisation solutions and integrated solutions. This allows individuals and groups (e.g. doctors, authorities, fire services, winter maintenance services, service personnel) to be notified, warned and alerted reliably, quickly and accurately via digital devices. Established in December 1999, e*Message took over both the Deutsche Telekom and France Télécom’s paging services in 2000 and has been developing them continuously. The corporate group’s operating centres are located in Berlin and Paris. (www.emessage.de)
e*Message Wireless Information Services Deutschland GmbH
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Tel: +49 30 4171-0
Fax: +49 30 4171-1933
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