Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Siemens enters joint venture to commercialise smart grid research project

Steve Rogerson
March 2, 2017

Siemens and fellow German company Allgäuer Überlandwerk have formed a joint venture named Egrid to implement commercially the results from the Irene and Iren2 joint smart grid research projects in Wildpoldsried.
Siemens will acquire a 49 per cent share in the AÜW subsidiary Egrid Applications & Consulting. The transaction is subject to clearance by the competition authorities.
"The results of the two research projects Irene and Iren2 have far exceeded our expectations," said Michael Schneider, head of power technologies at Siemens. "I am very pleased about this, and it is an ideal starting point for our new joint venture. Other grid operators will now be able to profit from our distributed infeed and storage. It's from real-life practice and for real-life practice. Together with Allgäuer Überlandwerk, we are thus actively supporting the transition to a new energy mix."
The joint venture will offer consulting services for distribution grid operators and will continue to refine existing offers. The consulting services will focus on intelligence instead of copper for smart grid expansion. The primary action areas will be the integration of large capacities from distributed generation plants and intelligent control of the distribution grid.
In Wildpoldsried, where both research projects are located, the amount of electrical power generated from renewable sources is five times greater than what the village needs.
"The results from the Wildpoldsried project and other Egrid customers have shown that the power grid has much larger reserves than previously thought,” said Michael Lucke, managing director of Allgäuer Überlandwer. “This finding and the knowledge of why this is true form the basis for our joint venture with Siemens."
During the course of the first project (Irene, for Integration of Renewable Energy and Electromobility), Siemens and AÜW worked together with partners from science and industry to build a smart grid in the town situated in the Allgäu region from mid-2011 to the end of 2013. The goal was to balance out power generation and consumption and thus keep the grid stable.
These efforts established the main requirements for the new Iren2 research projects, which has been in progress from 2014 to 2017. The picture shows the control room for the Iren2 project.
This project is aimed at scientific studies and practical testing of the best ways to operate autonomous island systems and topological power plants. The researchers are examining new types of grid structures and ways to manage them according to technical and economic criteria, with the goal of determining how energy systems with distributed power generation and additional components can be technically and economically optimised.
Wildpoldsried offered the best conditions for verifying theoretical results on the basis of a real-life smart energy system. Both research projects in the Allgäu region have established a basis not only for a future renewable energy system between the conflicting priorities of regulation and the market but also for the new joint venture.
"Egrid has demonstrated very positive growth in its first fiscal year," said Bernhard Rindt, managing director of Egrid Applications & Consulting. "Our customers include public works, municipalities and industrial enterprises who have benefited from our experience gained through the Irene and Iren2 projects. With Siemens as our partner, we will be able to expand this knowledge and offer new joint solutions for the grid of the future."