Article - Grids and Grid Expansion

The digitisation of the energy transition

Introduction

digitisation of the energy transition; Source: Fotolia.com/Gerhard Seybert

© Fotolia.com/Gerhard Seybert

The Act on the Digitisation of the Energy Transition heralds the launch of the smart grid, smart meter and smart home in Germany. We are using it to enable the development of a digital infrastructure that is capable of connecting more than 1.5 million electricity producers and large-scale consumers. The new legislation centres on the introduction of smart meters. They will provide a secure communication platform which will make the electricity supply system fit for the energy transition. We are laying a heavy focus on data security – we have introduced the strictest rules in Europe. The text of the Act on the Digitisation of the Energy Transition can be found (in Geman) here (PDF, 264 KB).

Central aspects of the act:

  • The legislation strikes a sensible balance between costs and benefits:
    The new rules balance the relationship between the costs and benefits of installing and operating smart meters. There is a clear ruling on costs, with maximum ceilings. This ensures that the costs do not exceed the expected benefits. Also, the smart meters will be phased in gradually. Large-scale consumers and generating installations will take on a pioneering role in the use of modern metering and control technology. Smaller users are to follow later. Use can be made of the experience gathered by the high-consumption groups to the benefit of the residential consumers.
  • Minimum technical requirements ensure data protection and security:
    The act establishes new, binding protection profiles and technical guidelines to ensure data protection, data security and interoperability (PDF: 65 KB) (in German). These were drafted on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) along with industry representatives, and with the close involvement of the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, the Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency) and the PTB (National Metrology Institute). The documents can be found on the BSI’s website. They contain a technical standard for privacy by design. The Act also contains precise rules governing who can access what data and when. This ensures both that the data will be protected and that use can be made of all the data needed for the energy supply by the parties entitled to use that data.

The main questions and answers about smart meters and the Act on the Digitisation of the Energy Transition can be found here, and there is a fact sheet (in German) summarising the key points. Answers to FAQs about the Metering Point Operation Act and the rollout of smart meters can be found here (in German) on the website of the Bundesnetzagentur.

Barometer for the digitisation of the energy transition

How much progress has been made on the digitisation of the energy transition in Germany so far, and where are things not yet going well? The study entitled “Barometer for the Digitisation of the Energy Transition”, which has just been published for the first time and will in future be published in the fourth quarter each year, deals with these and further questions.

The Act on the Digitisation of the Energy Transition (GDEW), which was passed in 2016, provides the legal basis for the digitisation of the energy transition. The annual digitisation barometer reflects the progress being made and the state of the implementation of the Act. The latest report can be found here (in German).