(Berlin/Frankfurt a. M., 15.03.2023) The German government plans to allow grid operators to intervene in the power supply as part of the energy transition. In the future, millions of so-called controllable consumer devices will have to be integrated into the grid. These include heat pumps, electric cars or electricity storage systems. For the first time, the planned amendment of § 14a EnWG describes a fundamental concept of how the distribution network is to be controlled in order to avoid power outages and overloads. On the occasion of a public hearing of the Federal Network Agency, the Forum Netztechnik/Netzbetrieb VDE FNN draws attention to the advantages of intelligent control.
1. Consumers save money
In practice, control means that in the event of critical network situations, customers make part of their output available as flexibility at certain times of the day. In return, they receive financial compensation in the form of a reduced network charge - regardless of whether they are actually affected by interventions by the network operator as a result. A so-called control measure must always be justified by a concrete, imminent or established network overload and may only be effective as long as this dangerous situation persists. And here, too, there are minimum limits that must not be fallen short of, allowing consumers to continue operating their normal power consumers. Even charging an e-car is thus still possible. The mobility of users is not restricted. Market instruments such as variable electricity tariffs are only suitable to a limited extent for averting local congestion situations in the power grid. For secure grid operation, grid operators need additional leeway to intervene preventively in the event of foreseeable congestion. This could significantly reduce the number and severity of interventions in the grid on a permanent basis.
2. Electricity grid expansion can remain within realistic limits
Electricity grid operators are already making great efforts to expand transmission and distribution grids in order to make our power supply fit for the energy transition. In the long term, according to the current ideas of the BNetzA, the power grid is to be expanded for the expected maximum capacity utilization. But that would be expensive and is not feasible in the short term due to lengthy planning and construction times. Without the ability to temporarily limit the output of controllable consumer devices until the power grid could be expanded, power grid operators would not be able to safely connect new devices to their power grids in the foreseeable future. As a result, some new grid connections would no longer be approved. Market and operational management instruments can be used to optimize grid expansion by stabilizing consumption. This ultimately also reduces network charges for all customers.
3. Support for the energy transition
The energy transition is fundamentally changing our energy supply. The goal is that in the future, electricity will be consumed primarily when a lot of energy from renewable sources is available. And saved when little solar or wind energy is produced. If grid operators can restrict the supply of heat pumps or charging points in critical grid situations, the devices will thus assume a stabilizing function in the power grid.