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Smart metering systems for sustainable energy use


Smart Meter

To properly utilize renewable energy in communities, the associated electricity grids must also be updated. While conventional power grids are designed to produce electricity via a small number of large plants, renewable energy grids require the ability to handle multiple small energy sources. Data-based adaptation is made possible by "smart grids": decentralized energy systems that utilize information and communications technology to operate.

The basis for this is modern smart meters (i.e. with digital displays), the use of which will be mandatory throughout Germany by 2032.  Ideally, they should be intelligent and connected to the Internet for real-time data use. The meters are installed by the municipality or network operators in private, commercial or public buildings and measure energy consumption in detail. This allows it to be recorded both at an individual and network-wide level.

How do smart meters help with sustainability?

  • The evaluation of the data at grid level enables supply and demand to be controlled in real time. This means that surplus energy can be stored or additional capacity can be released as needed.
  • Municipalities and consumers save electricity and money.
  • In the future, smart technologies and IoT devices can adjust power consumption in response to information received. This will make the benefits of smart grids even clearer.
  • Meter readings are transmitted automatically and can be tracked in real time. Manual reading becomes unnecessary; thus preventing some types of fraud or otherwise inaccurate data.
  • Users can receive individual feedback on their personal consumption and usage behavior as well as on savings opportunities.
  • Did I leave the oven on? In the event of an irregularity, smart meter users can receive a message on a smartphone. This is of particular benefit to the elderly and people with dementia.

Requirements: What is needed for smart meters?

  • Smart meters can be used in small municipalities as well as in large cities. There is no minimum size requirement for municipalities.
  • Smart meters are particularly interesting for municipalities that have not yet gained much experience with digital solutions as a wide range of use cases and products are already available.
  • Both municipal and network operator computing and personnel capacity is required to store and evaluate data and to implement improvements.

Our rating:

With the mandatory introduction of smart meters, the federal government has already relieved the municipalities of the question of "whether" to implement them. The question that remains is "how".

The installation alone is not sufficient, or at least would represent a wasted opportunity for the municipality. Based on the newly acquired data, additional use cases can be created - for example, empowering consumers to understand and reduce their energy consumption. An additional benefit could be enabling dementia patients to live more independently. Since every municipality in Germany has to deal with the issue, the obligation to introduce the system creates new opportunities for inter-municipal cooperation.

Which SDGS are addressed?

In order to create globally sustainable structures, the member states of the United Nations have set themselves 17 goals by 2030, which are set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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Associated challenge(s)

(The) Challenge(s) that can be overcome with the help of this solution.
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Reducing energy consumption

  • 2 Solution(s)
  • 1 Datasource(s)
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Establish Municipal Climate Protection Management

  • 5 Solution(s)
  • 3 Datasource(s)
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