Germany’s transition to a renewable energy economy is moving ahead at full steam. Already, renewables account for more than 30 percent of the power mix. However, a lot more electricity from renewables will need to be funneled into the grid if the country is to reach its energy transition target of an 80-percent share of renewables by 2050. In fact, this will require even more electricity from renewables than is currently needed in Germany during peak loads.
Working together with its project partners, Siemens has now achieved an important milestone on the path to achieving this goal. In the municipality of Wildpoldsried in the Allgäu region of southern Germany – an exemplary community with regard to the transformation to power generation supported by prosumers – a portion of the low-voltage grid has successfully been decoupled from the public power grid for the first time. This network, a so-called intelligent microgrid, has been operated with a high level of stability and without interruptions. What’s more, additional decentralized, -electricity-generating capacity, such as photovoltaic or biogas facilities, can be easily added to the community’s energy mix. Such local, independent networks could make an important contribution to maintaining energy supply security in the future by helping to fill demand gaps created by storms, flooding or blackouts.
Even today, the installed capacity of renewables in Germany is pushing the country’s grid to the limit. Smart grids are needed to ensure that distributed power systems can constantly supply sufficient electricity to consumers, even as electricity production fluctuates with the weather. Unlike today’s grids, such intelligent networks will be able to balance power generation and demand while distributing electricity, and they will do so all the way to the end consumer level.