IT Innovation Essential For Upcoming Grid Integration Challenges Ahead

Information technology will play an important role in ending Germany’s exit from nuclear power and steady expansion of renewable energies. This was stressed last week by Ulrich Dietz, CEO of GFT Technologies AG. Successful implementation will require huge investments in the intelligent controlling and grid integration of wind and solar power. “Germany’s IT industry can play a significant role in this change by formulating creative solutions. If we are fast, we can create 50,000 new jobs in this field over the coming years at IT companies alone,” says Dietz. He has therefore called upon the sector to set up a corresponding ideas competition.

Dietz believes that modern IT solutions can act as a catalyst to accelerate the development of renewable energies, as they play a key role in adapting demand to prevailing sun and wind conditions. Business models which use price mechanisms to encourage energy consumption in periods of plentiful wind and sun require intelligent control systems. It is now up to the IT industry to develop such solutions. “There is a lot of talk about this billion-euro market at the moment. Now is the time, however, to start finding future-compliant solutions,” states Dietz. “We need an ideas competition for intelligent power networks – so-called SmartGrids.”

The quick success enjoyed so far in establishing renewable energies should not deflect from the fact that the next development stages will require a massive effort, stresses Dietz. The bottleneck cited by most public discussions is the expansion of the electricity grid and investments in storage technologies, such as pump storage stations, compressed air storage stations or batteries. However, Dietz believes that these discussions often neglect the fact that in the age of renewable energies, reliable energy provision can only be guaranteed with the aid of innovative IT solutions capable of intelligently controlling power supply and demand.

“Today’s energy providers adapt their electricity generation to customer needs. If such volatile energy sources as wind and solar power are to cover the majority of our power needs in future, demand must adapt more to supply,” says Dietz. The storage technologies currently available are far from sufficient. Experts forecast that 25 to 30 billion euros will have to be invested in Germany by 2030.

GFT’s CEO believes that intelligent power grids in particular will play a vital role in economic policy. Thanks to its traditional engineering strength, German Industry has already established a global lead in many green technologies. In future, however, the country will need highly complex electricity distribution systems for renewable power provision, which in turn require highly specialised IT expertise.

“This is a huge opportunity for Germany’s IT industry. At the moment, Germany is not the market leader in this field. If we are serious about renewable energies though, we need to significantly scale up our capacities as soon as possible,” explains Dietz. After all, the opportunities for German energy technology and the IT industry on the global markets for smart grids are immense. GFT’s CEO therefore demands: “We need to take action now! If we spend too much time discussing, others will steal a march on us when it comes to renewable energies. The German IT industry can and must play a leading global role in this market of the future.”


Leave a Comment