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.
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.
Factors for success in an increasingly complex ecosystemThe 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shaping the transition smartlyThe 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.
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!
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.