Smart grid project underway in Germany
ABB and a consortium of partners in southern Germany are trying to create a sustainable power network, integrating clean energy generated by solar panels, wind turbines, fuel cells and other sources of distributed generation, and giving grid operators real-time information about supply and demand throughout the entire power network.
A 'solar tree' in Gleisdorf, Austria is comprised of a steel column with five branches holding 140 solar panels. The tree is an on-site power source generating about 6,650 kilowatt hours of electricity per year; enough to power about 70 streetlights in the center of the city.
Zurich, Switzerland – Known as MEREGIO (Minimum Emissions Region), this smart power grid project is currently under development for pilot deployment in the Karlsruhe-Stuttgart region of southern Germany, one of the most densely populated areas of the country and widely considered Europe’s biggest manufacturing and high-tech hub. The objective of the project is to create an optimized and sustainable power network that reduces CO 2 emissions to as close to zero as is technically feasible and humanly possible.
The solution will integrate clean energy generated by solar panels, wind turbines, fuel cells and other sources of distributed generation and provide the grid operator with real-time information about the entire power network in terms of supply and consumer demand. This will enable the operator to predict power flow, adapt rapidly to changing situations, send price signals to the consumer to encourage demand or restrain it if there is risk of a bottleneck, and create a regional energy market that incorporates end customers.
Consumers will be able to monitor their energy consumption and CO 2 footprint, respond to price signals and adapt consumption according to price and availability, and sell surplus power from their own generators to the grid when price conditions are most favorable.
MERIGIO is a collaborative project between ABB and consortium partners IBM , SAP , EnBW (Germany’s third largest utility), Systemplan Engineering and the University of Karlsruhe .
Recently selected by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology as a winner of the “E-Energy: ICT-based Energy System of the Future” award, the pilot will incorporate about 1,000 households, industrial consumers, generating units and energy storage units, each equipped with a smart meter.
ABB’s role in the project is to develop and install the network control system including new functions for optimal integration of decentralized generation as well as interfaces to automated meter reading and commercial marketplace systems.
The solution will be based on ABB’s Network Manager , an energy management platform with more than 400 installations worldwide.
– Edited by David Greenfield , editorial director
Control Engineering News Desk
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.