In Brunnthal near Munich, an energy community is being created where households will be able to share excess electrical energy with their neighbors and receive energy when they aren’t producing enough themselves. For instance, if one house produces more solar power at a certain time than it can consume, while the residents next door want to charge their electric vehicle, an intelligent community platform will connect the two households by comparing the supply and demand situation of the participating members in the town. Everyone benefits because together they can cut their own costs by functioning independently of an external electricity supply.
Virtual communities like these are creating new pathways for guaranteeing an energy supply based on renewables – every hour of every day. This is desirable for two reasons: Firstly, it allows private power generators to economically operate their solar and wind power plants as well as their heating pumps and combined heat and power stations. And secondly, digitalized systems open up new grid and exchange opportunities. For example, digital platforms can use blockchain technology to pool the energy produced by decentralized systems.
Additionally, renewable energies enable the expansion of microgrids for supplying cheap electricity. Microgrids are ideal for supplying power in remote areas, but also open up attractive opportunities for industrial enterprises or city neighborhoods. They are based on decentralized energy generators such as photovoltaic and wind power installations, combined with storage and an intelligent control system. In Fellbach, not far from Stuttgart, a housing cooperative reliably supplies three apartment buildings with energy from a combined heat and power plant and a photovoltaic installation.
In the form of energy communities and microgrids, the new technological trends of decentralization, digitalization and sector coupling lead to a sustainable, future-ready power supply based on renewable energies.