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How Hager Group researchers are building on the energy network of the future
All over the world, a growing proportion of our electricity is generated from renewable sources of energy. However, to be able to reliably use green energy and ease the strain on supply networks, we will need highly intelligent control systems. Researchers at Hager Group are currently working on a project alongside energy industry partners to do just that. Their goal: to draw up a blueprint for the energy networks of the future. The project has just won an award in Germany.
“What today’s supply networks are lacking is transparency with regard to current and future consumption” explains the computer scientist Dr. Schmitz, Advanced Digital Solution Manager in Corporate Strategy at Hager Group. “Even when it comes to electricity generation systems – wind turbines and rooftop photovoltaic systems, for example – we need more insights into how much electricity they produce right now and how much they will generate in the near future. Only then can we prevent energy networks from being overloaded as a result of highly fluctuating energy production and consumption.”
Managing this technological balancing act is one of the main aims of the Designetz Project. Initiated by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in January 2017, the project launched with around 50 experienced partners from the energy sector, industry, research and development. The fact that Hager Group was selected as a project partner shows just how much appreciation is given to the company in the energy industry.As Designetz is considered one of the most important research projects in Germany, as such the initiative has just won a nationwide award ‘Germany – Land of Ideas’ as an ‘Excellent Places in the Land of Ideas 2018.’
“This is where our expertise in building automation and smart systems truly comes to the fore,” explains Norbert Schmitz. “It’s almost as though we’re working in the engine room of the energy supply of tomorrow,” The ingenious thing about it is that it is a self-learning system; the energy management system developed by Hager Group will develop automatically on a continuous basis. It ‘learns’ from the experience it has gathered so that, going forward, it is able to ‘know’ with more accuracy the levels of consumption and production that can be expected at a given time in a building. In turn, this intelligence is an essential prerequisite to controlling and fine-tuning both parameters in future.
Does this all sound like a distant fantasy? In fact, it’s the next step in the transformation of our energy systems that is already taking shape in a number of markets around the world. From the one-way street of today’s energy supply networks – large power stations at one end of the pipeline and a multitude of anonymous consumers at the other – could emerge a breathing, intelligent, self-regulating organism. And Hager Group’s energy management system would be both the heart and soul of this intelligent network.