Berlin leads in Monitoring Energy Consumption with Smart Grid Technology

Smart Grid Table

Quite simply, InnoZ is a place to exchange ideas. Short for the Innovationszentrum für Mobilität und gesellschaftlichen Wandel, the public-private partnership serves as an open innovation laboratory for academics and developers in industry to test renewable energy concepts–everything from improved designs for vertical-axis wind turbines, to advances in electronic cars and bikes. It’s located on the EUREF campus in Berlin.

Fabian Reetz, an engineer and self-described junior expert on Smart Grid technology at InnoZ, directed a small tour of the space Friday.

Reetz showed visitors the Smart Grid Table, a large touch screen embedded in a tabletop. On the surface of the screen, users can move around two-inch triangles, each representing a different factor that accounts for energy fluctuation, either energy creation (such as from gas or wind) or energy consumption (from homes) for Berlin-Brandenburg. The data is based from 2010 figures, but researchers have used this information to forecast what energy consumption and production might look like in Berlin in 20 years.

“We want to scale up our grid here to make it more complicated,” Reetz said.

Why? The goal is to account for as many future renewable sources of electricity generation (like electric vehicles) from which energy will be harnessed. The idea would be to have many smaller grids across Berlin to keep track of this intermittent energy transfer. There are more than 3,000 electric vehicles in circulation in Germany, according to Reetz, but in models used by InnoZ, the number of electric vehicles in the country could be 5 million by 2030.

The ultimate success of Smart Grid technology is dependent on software development to monitor the ins-and-outs of energy consumption and generation. That would set German innovation apart from the competitors, Reetz said.

“The intelligence is where the money is,” he added.

by Claudia Adrien

This article was originally published June 30, 2013 at berlinSCI.com.

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