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Source: Bosch Software Innovations (oriented towards Gartner Hype Cycle)

Smart Grid Hype Cycle

The Smart Grids Hype Cycle

10/22/2014 -

Members of the Smart Grids Platform Baden-Württemberg e.V., a non-profit initiative that brings together players from the energy sector, industry, politics, and academia, met for an information event on September 30, 2014 to confer on key tasks and goals to refine and expand smart grids. This time, the event was hosted by Bosch Software Innovations and held in Haus Heidehof under the auspices of the smart grids initiative. As an extra treat, participants enjoyed a tour of the Robert Bosch House, which offers a close look at the life of its former owner. The tour finished in the tower with a breathtaking view of the city of Stuttgart in the sunlight.

Connected intelligence – the interaction of devices and software in the smart grid

The event’s presentations and discussions were devoted to the topic of “Connected intelligence – the interaction of devices and software in the smart grid.” A panel of experts discussed whether smart grids were all hype or a true necessity – for Germany’s energy transition, for practical orientation of the energy market, and for grid stability. The panelists were Dr. Martin Konermann (Netze BW), Irmhild Maschka (AMA-Systems), Jan Sagefka (Bosch KWK Systeme), and Johannes Stein (DKE, a German committee for standardization).

Hotly debated: smart grids – hype or necessity?

Hype or necessity? Or from “Innovation Trigger” to “Plateau of Productivity”, as Gartner describes the typical path of an innovation from inception to productivity in its Hype Cycles. The moderator for the event, Sven Wagner (Bosch Software Innovations), guided participants along this curve and through the discussion.

The speakers and panelists touched on various aspects:

  • In developing smart grids in Germany, how useful are international standards such as IEC 60870 and IEC 61850? What about the roughly 800 German smart grid standards pertaining to electrical engineering, electronics, and information technology? Is there no way to simplify this complex web of standards?
  • To what extent are CHP plants still worthwhile if nowadays we talk less about base load than about the need for flexibility?
  • Is the grid already smart if we don’t expand it to handle maximum load (which in Germany occurs for just 300 hours a year) – and instead integrate variable generation plants?
  • Smart grid: Isn’t this just the same old ripple control dressed up in new clothes?
  • Can “wind storage heaters” deliver what night storage heaters promised?
  • Can an ideal market design be allowed to permit models that go against grid requirements?
  • Have players already lost enthusiasm for incorporating small plants and devices because the effort hasn’t paid off?

Agreed: smart grids are on the brink of an upswing

Despite the lively discussion of various angles, by the end those participating in the debate were surprisingly in agreement regarding where smart grids are on the Hype Cycle curve (see diagram). In Europe, smart grids have already traversed the “Trough of Disillusionment” and are about to ascend the “Slope of Enlightenment.”

Participants said that for this upswing to actually happen, initial projects that are already underway need to be brought to successful conclusions, which would in turn facilitate the energy transition.

In short, we have high expectations of smart grids in the near future.

More information

Find out more about what customers, partners, analysts, guests, and associates from the world of Bosch are blogging on the future of Energy

October 23rd, you will find a follow-up blog post on the Smart Grids Hype Cycle, focusing on the Top 6 Smart Grids aspects from practice.