Smart grids: networking of wind power plants and cold stores

Smart grids are the future, combining the generation, storage and consumption of electricity. This is essential because, unlike fossil fuels, renewable energies are subject to natural fluctuations. How much energy they supply depends not least on the weather – wind turbines generate more power in windy times than in windless conditions. PV systems deliver more energy in sunny summers than in dark winters. This means that electricity is either scarce or abundant at certain times.


Providing renewable energies in a targeted manner


The aim of a power supply is to balance out these fluctuations so that there is always enough electricity available everywhere – including from renewable sources. In addition, the central control of the smart grids optimally matches the needs of electricity consumers with the flexible energy supply of the generators. In this way, the interplay of electricity supply and demand is achieved through new, intelligent technologies. This ensures the uniform utilisation of the grid as well as the more efficient operation of power plants.


Combination of power generation, storage and consumption


Smart grids are currently being tested in various regions of Germany, including in the temperature control of cold stores. Soon, other sectors of industry as well as private households will follow suit and benefit from smart grids. Their networking operates by means of information and communication technologies and decentralised energy management systems. In this way, the individual components in virtual power plants are coordinated for an ideal interaction by means of computers and fiber optic cable.


Virtual power plant


For example, if a cold store is empty, it requires less energy. If it contains a lot of goods that need to be refrigerated, the demand for electricity increases. The temperatures are regulated automatically, also using renewable energies. enercast predicts exactly how much wind energy a power plant will suppply  –  the output is calculated in advance based on various weather models – and the power companies plan the electricity supply accordingly.


Intelligent energy management in cold stores


If wind is predicted, this energy is used to operate the cooling machines in the cold store. This means that in well-insulated cold stores, the temperature increases only very slightly per day.