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How Superior Energy Management Succeeds

Prosumer control across the board

Reliable Control of Decentralized Micro-Generators and Consumers
Data Management
Artificial Intelligence

The SECProMo project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, was launched on January 1, 2023. Within three years, the project group* aims to develop secure communication solutions and processes with which consumers, generators, and storage facilities can be easily and securely integrated into a flexible, distributed energy management system and robustly controlled. The partners hope the result will be a forward-looking way to make decentralized renewable energy supply more controllable in order to increase grid stability, among other things - and thus give the energy transition a tailwind.

Why is this important?

The power supply is undergoing a fundamental transformation. In the past, electricity in this country was generated almost exclusively in large power plants based on coal, gas, and nuclear power and routed top-down to end consumers. Accordingly, the grids are divided into extra-high, high, medium, and low voltage.

In the course of the energy transition, fundamental parameters are changing. More and more decentralized wind and photovoltaic plants are being connected to the grid, while fossil and nuclear power plants are gradually being shut down or taking on a backup role. Tiny generators, such as small PV systems or CHPs, feed exclusively into the low-voltage grid. With the steady increase in fluctuating energy, the low-voltage grids are coming under increasing pressure to act. This is because they were neither designed nor equipped with control technology for such a decentralized scenario. As a result, there is a lack of transparency regarding current network load conditions. As a result, it is also difficult to control and optimize grid loads in a targeted manner. Until now, fossil generation plants have been temporarily switched off when volatile power overproduction by renewables has resulted in insufficient offtake.


iMSys and CLS technology pave the way

The initial situation is changing with the large-scale rollout of intelligent metering systems (iMSys), the initial situation is changing. On the one hand, these devices can collect and make usable network status data in real-time in addition to consumption readings. On the other hand, iMSys have a smart meter gateway as a highly secure communication channel and an integrated Controllable Local Systems (CLS) interface. This can be used to switch micro-consumers and generators (prosumers), such as PV systems, electricity storage units, heat pumps, and wall boxes. At this technical level and through the coupling of the sectors, it becomes possible to intervene in a controlling manner with a wide variety of objectives to harmonize volatile generation and consumption. Grid operators can take targeted measures to stabilize their grids. On the other hand, the degree of self-sufficiency can be increased by clever control of prosumers, and energy costs can be optimized under price-optimized approaches.


Service modules take over control

For this to affect a larger scale, it makes sense to bundle many prosumers with similar profiles and control them in parallel. This is where Arvato Systems' core tasks lie in the SECProMo project - summarized under the heading "cross-sector orchestration of flexibilities." This is to be implemented in practice by developing so-called service modules. These are preconfigured software modules with which various defined processes can be automatically controlled and networked. The end result is to enable comprehensive energy management for prosumers.


These service modules are to be developed in such a way that they can serve different purposes, for example:

  • increase the share of renewable electricity in the grid

  • increase the degree of self-sufficiency in a neighborhood

  • avoid local grid overload

  • optimize self-consumption across sectors

  • cost-optimized power supply


green.screen is where all the threads come together

The various service modules should be made available on one platform and be combinable - keyword orchestration. green.screen, Arvato Systems' platform for strategic sustainability management, is the ideal tool for this. green.screen is suitable for mass data, can be configured in a highly flexible manner, and has an extensive repertoire of analysis and management functions that can be adapted to the new objectives. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are also expected to help. The bottom line is that the service modules, or the overall solution, should become distinctive enough to send control signals to generators and consumers based on live data, enabling automated regional energy management that makes volatile renewables more practical and usable on a larger scale.


The Shift to Renewable Energy Generation: A path to a sustainable future

The SECProMo project is still in the start-up phase, with many detailed issues to be resolved. The switch to renewable energy generation occurs in many small individual projects. Balancing the energy policy triangle (security of supply, economic efficiency, environmental protection) balanced is essential. SecProMo explores the control of prosumers using CLS technology via the smart meter gateway and thus contributes a small part to the large-scale energy policy triangle.

We will report here on the further progress of the SECProMo project.


*The SECProMo project group includes smartOPTIMO GmbH & Co. KG, Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, items GmbH & Co.KG, ZENNER Hessware GmbH, Arvato Systems Digital GmbH, Stadtwerke Bielefeld GmbH and Power Plus Communications AG. Associated partners are Stadtwerke Münster GmbH, SWO Netz GmbH, and peerOS GmbH.

Written by

Dominic Weißenfels
Expert for Energy management in the IoT environment