Our strategy

EWE offers all the conditions needed for energy, telecommunications and mobility markets to converge. We also bring this expertise and experience to the enera project. This project aims to show how the energy transition can work in a region where electricity generation from renewable sources is already double consumption at times.

How can we reliably provide our customers with an increasing level of renewable energy?

How can life with more and more renewable energy be made more convenient for our customers?

Everyone in the energy industry is asking these two questions. EWE hopes to provide answers through enera: with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, more than 30 companies from across Germany have come together under this name to form a research consortium with two goals.

  • In the model region around Aurich, Wittmund and Friesland, enera is building a ‘power grid of the future’ that will allow energy producers and consumers to ensure a stable supply together with network operator.
  • Additionally, enera is testing and developing new products for private households in the model region. These products are based on data generated by networking the parties named above.
Smart meters

As a first step, 29,000 households and companies in the model region are having a smart meter installed. Current legislation requires that customers who receive at least 10,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year are equipped with a smart meter. However, most private households do not reach this limit. For that reason, enera is covering a large proportion of the costs incurred.

A smart meter gives customers a detailed, up-to-theminute overview of how much electricity their appliances and devices have consumed. This makes it possible to identify ‘power guzzlers’. Each device can also be operated using a mobile phone. For example, the home lighting system can be changed without having to go from lamp to lamp. Furthermore, the smart meter makes it possible to adjust power consumption in line with level of electricity generated by wind and solar power systems. Washing machines, tumble dryers and hot water boilers, for instance, can be turned on when there is a strong wind or at night, when less power is generally needed.

Anyone who not only uses electricity, but also generates it or would like to provide other consumers with access to unused electricity from a domestic energy storage system or car battery can also control this using the smart meter. In theory, it would even be possible to establish local electricity trading. Last but not least, the communication interface of the smart meter can be used to protect against fire and water damage. The idea is that all of this should be as straightforward as possible so that it is accepted by as many customers as possible.

Against this background, enera is developing apps and tariffs that bring together a range of functions and that can be used to set automatic programmes. Although the power consumption habits of individual customers follow complex rules (which can be transparent if desired), users should be able to operate this system very easily and without spending too much time. The companies involved in the enera project stress that they do not want to be alone when it comes to developing new products.

In order to attract as much creativity as possible to the model region, enera is therefore developing a platform where all interested developers can offer apps, for example. The development process behind the new energy supply of tomorrow will therefore have many fathers and mothers.
Smart grid

The smart meter not only makes life easier, but should also make the distribution of renewable electricity reliable and affordable.

A key reason why the model region was chosen is that coastal power generation today is already double peak consumption on some days. However, the cabling in this region dates back to a long time before the energy transition. These power lines were designed for a supply to meet the needs of households and businesses at that time. Today, they have to carry twice the amount of electricity during peak hours. The grid would have to be expanded at substantial cost unless it could be used more intensively with the existing copper cables.

Given these circumstances, enera is connecting a large number of sensors, digital measuring and control devices, and flexible transformers to the grid in order to obtain information about local network conditions and to strategically enhance its transport capability. The smart power grid therefore supplies not only power, but also important data that is indispensable for on-demand control.

Smart electricity trading

In order to provide customers with more and more renewable energy, enera is doing more than just digitalising the grid and embracing customers as active partners: a third important element is the integration of renewable electricity into the power market. This may sound complicated, but it essentially comes down to one very specific question: How reliable are our daily weather forecasts? After all, the sooner and more accurately everyone involved knows when (and where) sufficient quantities of renewable electricity will be available, or when (and where) it could become scarce, the better electricity exchanges can be used to ensure intensive production processes, replenishing storage systems and providing an optimal supply to private households in line with their needs. The power supply would thus follow the principles of the market economy: the demand and supply of electricity would balance each other out, making it easier and easier to avoid strong price fluctuations in the future.

For the energy
supply of tomorrow
… with digital intelligence
in meters, on the grid and
in electricity trading.