The German energy transition is not only playing out in large cities in the country, but also in local districts such as Aurich, Friesland, Wittmund or Emden in north-west Lower Saxony. Here, digital technologies are being developed within the scope of the enera project that are aimed at connecting power grids, markets, energy storage systems and communication and consumption technologies in the best possible way in the future.

One goal of the project is to install 30,000 intelligent electricity meters in households, commercial premises and companies, and equip 1,000 nodal points in the power grid with digital measuring technology. Another is to use intelligent transformers, full power converters for wind turbines designed to stabilise the grid voltage, and control technology for industrial companies that allows them to adapt their power consumption to the price of electricity. Power storage systems with a total capacity of seven megawatts are also intended to provide additional flexibility, and in particular to temporarily store wind energy. The infrastructure provides the data basis for the development of a secure Big Data Platform, via which the power used by the connected consumers will also be charged in the future. A regional virtual power station will then link producers and consumers and enable the efficient coordination of power supply and demand.

The results of enera sub-projects will also be used for the development of the future energy infrastructure based on renewable energies and storage systems. Other projects have already shown that second-life batteries can balance peak-loads and stabilise the grid. In one sub-project, grid operators Tennet and Mercedes Benz Energy were now able to provide evidence that batteries of electric vehicles can provide services in the transmission network. Among other things, second life and spare part batteries with a connected load of around one megawatt and a storage capacity of 750 kWh were able to successfully rebuild a test grid with a black start. In this way, the conventional power stations used for the purpose to date could be replaced in the future.

The project is being funded as part of the WindNODE initiative, which supports projects for the intelligent use of renewable energies. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is supporting the project through its funding programme “Schaufenster Intelligente Energie - Digitale Agenda für die Energiewende (SINTEG)” (Smart Energy Showcases – Digital Agenda for the Energiewende).