SWK launches the digital meter future with the "E-DeMa" project
The future is digital. What began with the introduction of the first computer, continued via CD and MP3 players, has now reached an area which most people only notice when they descend into their cellar: electricity meters.
Modern, networked devices in the household will be activated by a customer-friendly controller when electricity is at its cheapest - based on digital electricity meters. This means that the digital meter of the future can, for example, tell the dishwasher to start at night because electricity is particularly cheap at that time of the day.
Award from the BMWi
What sounds like pipedreams today could become reality in only four years time. Within the scope of the "E-DeMa - Development and demonstration of locally networked energy systems to the E-Energy marketplace of the future" project, SWK is developing a corresponding technology side by side with leading technology companies such as Miele and Siemens, RWE as well as research experts from the ef-Ruhr (affiliation of energy technology university chairs from the universities of Duisburg/Essen, Bochum and Dortmund). It received an award from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) for its work in March of this year. The individual partners mutually profit from the know-how of the other partners.
Krefeld will be a test model region within the project. SWK is today fitting 500 electricity measuring points with "intelligent" meters. The current electricity meters are being removed and replaced by modern, digital meters in an attractive design. It is planned to use this technology in future for gas, district heat and water consumption too. "This is a service that only the SWK can provide as a multi-utility company in the project. Only the SWK offers its customers not only supplies of electricity but also natural gas, district heat and drinking water from one source", emphasises SWK Director Carsten Liedtke.
Customers in the Krefeld test area will in future be able to adapt their consumption behaviour to the price with the aid of information and communication technology and thus significantly improve their energy efficiency. This will take place via a so-called gateway. The gateway is a piece of equipment that is located in the customer's sub-distribution . On the one hand it reads the meter and on the other receives additional price signals from the electricity supplier.
The energy supplier on the other hand, will be able to control and manage the energy supply individually for relevant customers in future. In turn, they will be able to take an active role in the energy market and cut their energy costs at any time with "intelligent" household devices and meters. The customer can track their electricity consumption online via their own PC with the gateway. A software still to be developed will then show them how the electricity consumption changes depending on which household device he switches on or off. What's more, the consumption can be settled at shorter intervals and thus more precisely.
Vision: "E-Energy Marketplace"
And there's more: the customer himself can also become an energy trader. For example, anyone with a photovoltaic system or mini-block-central cogeneration station in their home can place the electricity produced with these at the disposal of others on an "E-Energy Marketplace" in future. Other customers can then buy a certain number of kilowatt hours from them. Up to now a general differentiation has been made between those people who generate electricity and those who use it. This sharp distinction no longer exists on the "E-Energy marketplace". This only has "Prosumers". This is understood as meaning the active customer who both generates electricity and feeds this into the basic distribution grid (producer) and also consumes it (consumer). And this is another aim of "E-DeMa": the encouragement of the end consumer's active involvement and participation in the energy market.
The SWK is really keeping up with the times in this project, which is attempting to find a happy balance between cost effectiveness, environmental compatibility and security of supplies in the energy policy triangle. "We are proud to be actively shaping the marketplace of the future with select, competent partners", says Johannes Funck, Managing Director of SWK SETEC, who is managing the project at SWK. SWK will be investing around one million euros in the project over the next four years.
SWK is assuming that in the medium term, intelligent and effective solutions will become essential in the energy sector on account of the growing demands on energy efficiency. With the "E-DeMa" project, SWK is making a continuous contribution to more environmental protection by energy saving within the scope of its environmental program "SWK JUMBO 2008/2009"
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