The electricity grids of the future: TÜV SÜD prepares study for German Bundestag

On behalf of the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB) TÜV SÜD is carrying out a study on "Modern Technologies for Grid Optimization". The study aims to point out the technological and regulatory measures that are required for ensuring security of supply.

"Electricity grids will undergo massive changes in the coming years and decades", says Dr Royth v. Hahn, project manager in charge of the study at TÜV SÜD AG. "Determinants of this development are firstly the liberalization and integration of the European electricity market, and secondly the expansion of renewable energies and the integration of decentralized and volatile sources of energy into the electricity grid." Following a description of the current situation, the study is intended to identify medium-term perspectives and options for the transformation and operation of future electricity grids. "Security and reliability of the electricity supply are critical and must be maintained or even improved throughout the transformation of our present electricity grids into the power grids of the future", says the TÜV SÜD expert.

The study focuses on the assessment of technological and regulatory improvements in the electricity grid. "This includes the expansion and installation of new electrical power lines and grids and improved grid management through intelligent technology, i.e. smart grids. Establishment of an European supergrid and the connection of several regions can compensate for fluctuations in power production and ensure better alignment of demand and supply. However, for this purpose, the grids also need additional means of communication enabling the status of grid elements and their management to be monitored. To ensure the communication and interoperability of the individual smart-grid elements, international standards must be developed and implemented.

The transformation of our present electricity grids into smart grids must not be allowed to jeopardize the security of supply. "Given this, we also need to take a closer look at the potential risks of the information technology used", explains Dr Royth v. Hahn. "These risks primarily include failure probability based on the use of new, complex technology and the risk of attacks targeted at the supply infrastructure." These risks have to be reduced to a minimum by taking appropriate measures.
"We are very happy to have won the contract for this challenging study on an important issue of the future", says Dr Kai Strübbe, Head of Embedded Systems at TÜV SÜD AG. "Within the scope of the individual modules of the study, we will cooperate very closely with our colleagues at Ludwig-Boelkow-Systemtechnik." TÜV SÜD has long-standing experiences in the areas of functional safety, energy technology and renewable sources of energy, while Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik has operated in the field of renewables and the integration of energy systems at regional, national and European level for over 20 years.

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