The word »smart« crops up a lot in connection with future energy supply. It indicates a transition away from the old method whereby power is generated and transmitted to the consumer according to demand. The increasing use of renewable and often weather-dependent energy sources requires special components and control methods to ensure that the electricity grid remains stable. At the same time, private and commercial users should not have to suffer usage restrictions or other inconveniences, and there should be no major increase in energy prices as a result. The information and communication technology that has until now been used primarily at higher voltage levels in the transmission and medium-voltage grids will also become widespread in the low-voltage grid and among end consumers.
Since 2010, new buildings have been fitted with smart meters, which allow energy usage data to be shown on a special display in homes. This display encourages consumers to save energy, and the consumption data can be transmitted to the energy provider via a gateway. This makes monthly billing possible and rewards energy-saving behavior.
Under the German Energy Industry Act (Energiewirtschaftsgesetz) §21 c and e, smart metering systems will become binding from 2015, wherever technically feasible, for new buildings, old buildings that undergo extensive renovations, consumers whose demand exceeds 6,000 kWh, combined heat and power plants and other renewable energy generation plants as defined by the German Renewable Energy Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz) which exceed 7 kW, and businesses with protection profile certification from the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).
According to the BSI protection profile, one of the primary goals for a smart metering gateway is the security of consumption data. Integrity, authenticity, and confidentiality must be ensured when transmitting meter data. Another primary goal is the security of power grids. This is achieved by means of firewalls for protection against cyber attacks and dedicated interfaces for WAN (wide area networks), HAN (home area networks), and LMN (local metering networks).
Through our work in committees and associations, we make a decisive contribution toward the implementation of standards, the specification of web services, and the drawing up of a standardization roadmap for smart cities.