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How the energy transition can succeed

Together with 46 project partners, umlaut has created the right conditions for the power grid of the future at the request of the German Ministry for Economic Affairs.

Paris, December 2015: The 195 participants in the international climate conference "COP21" reach a historic agreement to halt climate change and reduce CO2 emissions worldwide. Today, around 5 years later, huge advances have been made in terms of decarbonisation, decentralisation and the digitalisation of the energy sector. But will it be sufficient for the energy transition to succeed?

In order for our climate goals to be realised, it is essential that our energy supply comes from renewable sources. However, it has been clearly demonstrated that our power grids are not set up for the exclusive feed-in of renewable energies. This is an area where climate protection requires intelligent innovation:

Why our power grids are not yet ready for renewable energies

It needs to be possible for every kilowatt of renewable energy that is generated decentrally to be picked up and transported from the point where it is generated by the distribution grids, but they were not originally designed to do this. At the same time, we need green electricity to be usable at all times, independent of weather conditions. This means that we need to be able to store surplus energy, or otherwise use it somewhere else. And the percentage of green electricity being produced is still too small – we need to replace much more of the energy generated from fossil fuels (which produce CO2) with green electricity.

In the showcase project "DESIGNETZ", which was set up as part of the funding project SINTEG, 46 companies have come together to address this task on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Their primary goal: to develop strategies that will successfully prepare our power grids for the energy transition.

A strong team to address climate change

umlaut was invited to join the team as a specialist in energy, IT/software development and process optimisation and was assigned the task of developing the required information and communications technology (ICT) as well as various selected components of the "Energy Gateway".

This sub-project of the real-life lab DESIGNETZ involves the use of a new kind of software that enables the secure networking of IT systems which require a high level of security – for example power supply systems – with systems with lower security requirements, in particular platforms for making prognoses and for trading. This is the key to the decentralised and efficient use of energy.

As one of the developers and administrators of the "Energy Gateway", umlaut has been a constant point of contact for almost all the participants in the project and ultimately delivered a genuine end-to-end solution, from initial planning through to final commissioning, whilst ensuring compliance with the highest standards in terms of IT security. This allowed the Energy Gateway to be linked up with productive supply systems for electricity and gas. For this alone, several hundred Firewall rules had to be integrated into the IT network with the E.ON and Westnetz IT systems – and a special software bridge (OPC UA) had to be developed.

At the end of March 2021, the "DESIGNETZ" project was brought to a close and it is now delivering solutions that will enable large-scale decentralised energy supply from renewable sources from 2035 onwards.

Although the project has now come to an end, umlaut will continue with their collaboration and will maintain the partnerships that have developed in this future-oriented project, as we are still absolutely committed to ensuring a successful energy transition.

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