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Bosch Software Innovations develops IT platform for a smart grid

Stromnetz Berlin GmbH switches substation area over to radio-based control

  • New IT platform enables smart control of decentralized power producers and consumers
  • Radio-based ripple control system is tamper-proof, inexpensive, and fail-safe
  • Another important step towards smart grids in Germany

Berlin, 10/15/2014 -

Stromnetz Berlin GmbH is the first German distribution grid operator to employ radio-based ripple control in its grid. Starting immediately, signals sent to decentralized power producers such as photovoltaic systems or combined heat and power (CHP) plants, as well as those to consumers, will no longer be transmitted using audio-based methods. Instead, the signals will be transmitted by radio. This new generation of radio-based ripple control technology is less expensive, tamper-proof, and fail-safe. Bosch Software Innovations supplies both the IT platform and the control logic.

From now on, Stromnetz Berlin GmbH’s Berlin-Britz substation will supply power to approximately 25,000 households and 1,400 commercial customers. The distribution grid operator invested some 28 million euros in the new substation, which is the first in Germany to employ radio-based ripple control technology; the company will switch all of Berlin over to the new technology little by little.

“This is another important step towards smart grids. Everyone involved benefits from this new, secure, and stable ripple control technology, which can also help other cities improve their load and generation management. It cuts costs and increases flexibility for producers, distributors, and users,” says Michael Hahn, chief operating officer at Bosch Software Innovations GmbH. “This project shows how pioneering our software is, and the major role it can play in Germany’s energy transition.”

Bosch Software Innovations was commissioned by the distribution grid operator Stromnetz Berlin GmbH, a Vattenfall GmbH subsidiary. The radio technology is being provided by e*Message Wireless Information Service Deutschland GmbH.

Stromnetz Berlin can now use the new IT platform to stabilize its grid, either by managing groups and individual facilities in a targeted way, or by temporarily turning off a neighborhood’s consumers or producers or regulating them in steps. What’s more, the platform can intelligently control night storage heaters, for instance, based on weather forecasts, as well as dimming commercial or industrial lighting to suit the weather situation or according to programmed sunrise and sunset times.

The radio-based solution offers the advantage that the control commands are transmitted in signed and encrypted form. This encryption and the paging network used provide protection against manipulation. In addition, the radio signals penetrate even meter-thick concrete walls, so this method is preferable to other transmission options such as mobile networks or (A)DSL.

Until now, control signals were transmitted by coupling large, expensive, power-intensive units into the existing grid. But this method has become ever more prone to failure as the number of electronically controlled devices in households, business, and industry has grown. This means the new system also helps to reduce the risk of power outages on the Berlin grid.