Accelerating the energy transition with digital solutions

How municipalities and distributions system operators (DSO) can boost their digital business transformation

Our energy system continues to evolve. This means new challenges for both municipalities and distribution system operators. But at the same time, innovative, digital technologies and solutions offer new opportunities for decarbonization as well as for boosting resource and energy efficiency -  for example at the grid edge and in smart buildings.

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New Whitepaper

Shaping a smart energy world at the grid edge – exploring opportunities for municipalities and DSOs

In this paper, we present 5 hands-­on use cases which illustrate how current technologies help to integrate new players and assets to improve the core business of municipalities and DSOs and allow them to tap into innovative business models.

Current trends

Perspectives and new business models

Portfolio

Customer success stories

Trends and challenges

Factors for success in an increasingly complex ecosystem

The energy industry is characterized by disruptive changes, which represent challenges and opportunities at the same time. The broad themes are decarbonization, decentralization, and above all digitalization, but many individual factors must also be considered.
Successfully managing a varied generation landscape

The number of distributed generation systems, energy market players, and electric vehicles continues to grow. All these developments place a burden on the grids. IT-assisted diagnostics, intelligent processes, and smart assets, for intelligent transformer substations, for example, help maintain grid stability despite major fluctuations in generation and load volumes thanks to automated adaptive processes.

Keeping an eye on system condition

The increasing age of much equipment means municipal utilities and distribution system operators must remain highly vigilant. Putting an integrated condition monitoring system in place and making targeted investment in updates at critical points in the grid can achieve a substantial reduction in downtimes and a lasting decrease in operating costs.

Improvement of investment and operating costs

Distribution system operators and municipal utilities are facing significant cost pressure. Rigorous use of the opportunities offered by digitalization and the Internet of Things throughout the entire lifecycle, from planning to maintenance, can reduce this pressure on a lasting basis. System operation becomes more efficient, processes much more efficient, and new value flows and business models can be created.

Guaranteeing a reliable, fail-safe power supply

Critical infrastructure such as hospitals, traffic systems, telecommunications, and financial institutions vitally depends on an absolutely reliable electricity supply. A critical improvement in security can be achieved here by drawing on the opportunities offered by the Internet of Things to identify faults at an early stage, and integrating battery storage systems and microgrids into the supply network.

Protecting against cyberattacks on systems and businesses

Digitalization and networking are increasingly turning supply infrastructures into a target for cyberattacks. An end-to-end protection strategy comprising hardware and software as well as processes and the people behind the technology will enable municipal utility companies and distribution system operators to protect themselves efficiently against this growing threat.

Creating powerful eCharging infrastructure

Electromobility makes a critical contribution toward reducing emissions and shaping future transport strategies, in urban areas in particular. Municipalities and distribution system operators play a vital role in this regard as operators of powerful eCharging infrastructure. The use of smart control systems, optimizing secondary distribution levels, and the targeted integration of vehicles as mobile storage systems (vehicle2grid) help deal with this challenge, while also opening up new opportunities to add value.

Managing a growing number of prosumers

More and more households, buildings, and industrial firms are feeding electricity into the distribution system. IT-assisted solutions directly on the grid edge create the transparency needed for active load management and facilitate additional business thanks to system services directly at or beyond the meter. In addition, solutions for microgrids and virtual power plants make an adaptive grid and smart load balancing possible in order to stabilize the power grid.

Prevent faults, and locate and fix them faster

For municipal utilities and distribution system operators, a high failure rate is costly in every respect. That’s why it’s important to identify fault locations faster and optimize the process, in addition to continuously monitoring system condition. Grid control solutions enable continuous condition monitoring, accurate fault location and isolation, and automated alarm, personnel, and outage management.

Integrating smart buildings into the grid

Advances in digitalization are increasingly turning buildings into active, energy-optimized grid participants. For distribution system operators and municipalities, this means new opportunities: As “smart loads,” smart buildings can contribute to grid stabilization. In addition, they open up new business opportunities at the grid edge.

Perspectives

Shaping the transition smartly

The role played by municipalities and distribution system operators is changing. Customer requirements and systems are both growing more complex. Thanks to smart technology with digital solutions, we can support to shape this transition, successfully and cost-effectively.

From energy utility to infrastructure provider with a focus on the public

The growing relevance of electricity in a world characterized by electrification, automation, and digitalization poses new challenges for municipalities in increasingly distributed energy systems in particular.

Because of their local ties and because they operate essential public service infrastructure, however, they are predestined for networking different sectors together and using smart functions to control them. That means they can offer new digital services to improve quality of life for the public, and at the same time, this helps them open up new markets and play a key role in shaping them.

Making targeted use of new business opportunities

Electricity is becoming increasingly important as an especially efficient, clean, and flexible energy source in state-of-the-art energy systems.

More and more industrial processes are being electrified, electromobility is steadily gaining a firmer footing, and smart buildings are relying on electricity as their energy source for many different reasons. At the same time, there is a growing number of distributed generators, often fed using renewables, and also prosumers. 

Sector coupling and integrated energy

Integrated energy and digitalization create new business opportunities and more leeway for municipalities and distribution system operators.

Energy intelligence – A guide towards a smart energy world

This publication explains our perspective on the future of energy systems and hopes to stimulate an open dialogue. Taking a broad view of the issues at hand, this resource outlines the trends and disruptions that are reshaping the energy landscape. It also shows how “Energy Intelligence” from Siemens can help avoid potential pitfalls, capitalize on emerging opportunities, and jointly create environments that care! 

Portfolio

Products, systems, and solutions for municipalities and distribution system operators

Optimizing across the energy value chain

Siemens is a long-standing, experienced partner to municipalities and distribution system operators, and offers an integrated portfolio of products, systems, solutions, and services covering the entire project lifecycle.

Municipalities and grid operators are thus able to improve their system and grid transparency, guarantee grid stability, power quality, and cyber and system security, integrate renewables into the grid, and optimize their costs.

Consulting and planning

Consulting and support for planners, architects, suppliers, and communities

At every stage of your project you can benefit from our consulting services designed for planners, architects, suppliers, and communities – from professional consulting on all aspects of your power supply system and business model to powerful software and expert support with planning, and test lab services and support for all aspects of your project financing, device, and leasing solutions, structured financing, and equipment loans.

Operating a smart grid

Operating smart grids efficiently

Our software and hardware, designed to control smart power networks, are your assurance of smooth, reliable, and future-proof grid operation. Smart power networks help ensure grid stability and power quality even with an increasing proportion of locally generated electricity and multidirectional power flows. They smooth the way for integrated energy solutions, increase system and cybersecurity, balance generation and consumption, and open up new business models, especially at the grid edge.

Solutions for substations

Smart monitoring at the heart of your grid

Monitor your entire grid more smartly and right at its heart, and run substations much more cost-effectively throughout their entire lifecycle – from planning to operation and service. In addition, digital substations also improve availability, security, and sustainability of the entire supply network, representing a critical contribution toward successfully shaping the changing energy system.

Optimized integration of renewables

Optimized integration of renewables

The proportion of renewables in the electricity mix continues to increase. Fluctuations in generation volumes and multidirectional power flows make the task of grid operation more complex and more complicated. Our smart hardware and software support the integration of renewables, smoothing the way for municipal utilities and distribution system operators to develop new business models. The range of services includes inverters and transformers, in addition to solutions for photovoltaic eBoP, controlling demand, and operating virtual power plants.

Distributed energy solutions

New opportunities with distributed power generation

Our innovative solutions for distributed energy systems (DES) offer municipalities and distribution system operators the opportunity to optimize their energy supply systems by generating and storing their own electricity, and through digital energy management. The result is improved cost-efficiency and security of supply. In addition, distributed energy systems provide an opportunity to generate additional revenue with new business models, by participating in the balancing energy market, for example.  

Energy storage

Making efficient use of electricity surpluses

The ability to store surplus electricity generated at a local level is a key element of state-of-the-art integrated energy solutions. Our power-to-X solutions and battery storage systems from Fluence enable municipal utilities and distribution system operators to store and thus make the best possible use of locally generated electricity. Battery storage units cushion sudden load peaks and allow for reactive power control independently of active power. That takes the load off the distribution system on a lasting basis and minimizes transmission losses.

Power-to-X solutions convert surplus electricity using electrolysis and other synthetic processes into liquid or gaseous chemical energy sources that are easy to store and can be utilized or processed in many different ways.

Charging infrastructure for electromobility

Offering electromobility in addition to the regular supply business

The integration of energy, infrastructure, and electromobility opens up new market opportunities for municipalities and distribution system operators. Our solutions, covering all aspects of charging infrastructure for electromobility, create the perfect opportunities to optimally shape the global transformation at a local level. They also let you achieve the best possible control over the additional load in the distribution system caused by charging infrastructure.
Our services, including consulting and digital services in addition to charging infrastructure solutions, create the basis for a more cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and powerful energy ecosystem at a municipal level.

Cybersecurity

Rigorous protection for systems and processes

The threat situation relating to cyberattacks on energy supply facilities and infrastructure is constantly evolving. That means it’s essential to have a comprehensive security strategy covering hardware, software, and processes, and the people behind the technology. We’re there to assist municipal utilities and distribution system operators in this area as a trusted partner. Our experienced cybersecurity experts develop and implement integrated, future-proof solutions based on current international security standards, and are designed to provide optimum protection for all equipment and processes.

Water and wastewater industry

Efficient and sustainable processes in the water industry

As climate change continues unabated and demand for water grows in many locations, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ensure the availability of clean water. At the same time, the water industry must operate as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. We are helping municipalities to manage these challenges with integrated solutions to digitalize all systems and processes. So, for example, the end-to-end networking of system engineering from commissioning through operation, maintenance, and ongoing process optimization based on a data platform creates new opportunities to handle water as a resource more cost-effectively, efficiently, and thus more sustainably.

References

Customer success stories

Find out how municipalities and distribution system operators around the world are working with Siemens as an experienced partner to ensure they can make the critical leap forward to a more sustainable energy system.

More customer success stories

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Talk with our experts

Every distribution system depends on a large number of specific factors. That’s why it’s worth discussing your individual questions directly with our experts. Contact us now.