EM-Power Europe: Solutions for the Distribution Grids of Tomorrow

Press Release – Thursday, March 21, 2024

Munich/Pforzheim, March 21, 2024 – Distribution grids are increasingly becoming the key arena for the energy transition. The reasons for this lie both in power generation and feed-in and in consumption – on one hand, the deployment of electricity generation from renewable energies, particularly photovoltaics, is growing dynamically. Germany plans to generate 215 gigawatts of solar power by 2030, which will be fed almost exclusively into the distribution grids. On the other, the heat pump and e-mobility market ramp-ups will ensure high energy demands with temporary and local peak loads in the future. In the passenger vehicle sector alone, the planned ban on combustion engines is expected to lead to an exponential increase in sales and registrations of battery electric vehicles in the relatively short term – the energy demand and charging infrastructure will grow accordingly. EM-Power Europe 2024 will present the latest products, technologies and trends in the modern power grid and energy management sectors. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the latest trends and experience the current technologies and products that will be needed to stabilize the distribution grids of tomorrow. The exhibition is rounded off by a varied program of presentations and discussions at the EM-Power Europe Conference. EM-Power Europe is part of The smarter E Europe, Europe’s largest alliance of exhibitions for the energy industry, and will take place in Munich from June 19–21, 2024, alongside Intersolar Europe, ees Europe and Power2Drive Europe.

As different as the energy systems in the various European countries may be – from Sweden, which is strongly characterized by its use of hydropower, to France, which is rich in nuclear power plants – the challenges for distribution grid operators remain the same: load flows at the lower voltage levels will be larger, fluctuate more and be increasingly difficult to calculate and forecast. In addition, the hierarchy of voltage levels is shifting because the electricity from renewable energy sources, which is gaining in significance, is often generated decentrally and fed into the distribution grids. This paradigm shift requires new thinking, new technologies and new methods.

Smart load management replaces power line deployment

Above all, intelligent load management is required for the active distribution grid operation – the power fed in by producers and drawn by consumers must be adjusted or staggered. To see how this can be done, we need to turn our gaze to the Dutch city of Amsterdam, where all car traffic is set to be electric by 2025. Without load management, grid operator Alliander AG reports that one in three roads would need to be dug up to reinforce the power grid. To avoid having to do this, the utility company plans to guarantee only a clearly-defined, reduced minimum output for each charging point around the clock. Furthermore, when additional grid capacity is available, vehicles will only be allowed to charge according to a profile determined by the grid operator. The batteries of the vehicles are the key, because they add more flexibility to the system. “This way, we can connect three times as many charging points to the same power line without overloading our grid or losing charging comfort,” says Roy Crooijmans from Alliander’s Grid Operations department.

No comfort loss for consumers

However, active load management does not mean that electricity customers will experience comfort losses. Heat pumps are a case in point in many networks. Heat storage units keep homes warm even when the grid operators initiate controlled reductions or interruptions to the supply. In return, customers in many network areas are already offered a reduced tariff for heat pump electricity. In future, electricity customers will also be rewarded with significantly lower electricity prices for their flexibility and for shifting the timing of their electricity consumption in other areas, for example when charging their electric cars or running their washing machines or dishwashers.

Prosumers seek connection – the Austrians show us how it’s done

In technical, organizational and administrative terms, another key challenge for distribution grid operators is integrating the increasing number of solar power producers into the power grids. With intelligent, digital solutions, renewables can be connected to the grid more quickly and existing capacities can be utilized more effectively. Looking to Austria, more specifically the state of Carinthia, shows us how this can be done – Kärnten Netz GmbH (KNG) has developed and implemented a fully digital and largely automated process for processing connection applications for PV systems. This enables the company to respond to all applications for PV systems with a grid-relevant feed-in capacity of up to 30 kilowatts – i.e. more than 90 percent of systems in Carinthia – with a connection offer within just thirty minutes. This is made possible by having a digital twin of the distribution grid, which the company can use to simulate the effects of connecting renewable systems to the grid. For this purpose, the grid operator has digitally recorded all local grids and transformers.

EM-Power Europe 2024 – industry meeting point

From June 19–21, 2024, EM-Power Europe in Munich will offer trade visitors insights into the digitalized and flexible distribution grids of the future. Every year, leading international players offering products, services and business models for integrated energy solutions and stable power grids meet here. The exhibition will be accompanied by the EM-Power Europe Conference that presents the perfect opportunity to discuss the smart integration of decentralized renewable energy installations, grid management, digitalization and flexibilities and much more with international experts.

EM-Power Europe, and the parallel events Intersolar Europe, ees Europe, and Power2Drive Europe, will take place from June 19–21, 2024 as part of the innovation hub The smarter E Europe, Europe’s largest alliance of exhibitions for the energy industry, at Messe München.

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