Germany Searching for the Smart Option
Germany exported more energy in 2012 than at any time over the previous five years.
Berlin - That's eyebrow-raising enough, but the real head-turner was that Europe's powerhouse had managed to do this despite the ongoing shutdown of all its nuclear energy-producing facilities.
This was because of the ever-increasing share contributed by Germany's renewable energy industry, which in 2012 accounted for 23 per cent of Germany's power usage and produced 9.3% more energy than in 2011.
But as with every success story, new challenges are created. By far the biggest problems facing Germany's energy producers now are storage of the seasonal surges in power produced by wind and photovoltaic facilities, and a more intelligent distribution of the power through the grid. Research into battery facilities to solve the former is ongoing, while the latter has made great strides. The buzzword in the industry at the moment is 'Smart Grids': intelligent, integrated power grids that understand where power needs to go and when.
At this week's Hannover Expo, Germany Trade & Invest will be holding two events covering the topics Smart Grids and Energy Storage.
The first, on Tuesday April 9, is an 'International Day' forum, which will examine the challenges faced by international power grid operators, look at whether Smart Grids really push liberalization and transnational co-operation, and review which solutions and technologies have already been successfully established.
The second, on Wednesday April 10, will concern itself more with the challenge of Energy Storage. As a part of the Expo’s Renewable Energies forum, Germany Trade & Invest's Senior Manager of Renewable Energies, Tobias Rothacher, will be making a presentation on the subject of political operating conditions and targets for battery usage.
"Distribution System Operators (DSO) and energy companies are working feverishly on various new models and technologies to ensure the right amounts of energy get to the right places at the right times, as well as attempting to pre-empt looming new questions," said Rothacher ahead of the expo.
"Renewables will displace non-renewable base load capacities more and more over the next few years, increasing the volatility of electricity prices and thus opening business cases for the implementation of storage, smart-grid and demand side management technologies."