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Pilot project with Alpiq GridSense technology in single-family houses

Zurich – Decentralised generation of electricity is gaining popularity, presenting new challenges to distribution grid operators. The Alpiq GridSense technology uses artificial intelligence in order to stabilise the electricity distribution grid. Within the framework of an 18-month pilot project in four single-family houses in the municipality of Biel-Benken, EBM is testing how GridSense performs in the field. With this technology Alpiq is strengthening its position as an energy services provider and making a valuable contribution towards energy efficiency.

The energy company EBM is carrying out a pilot project to evaluate how the energy flow in the electricity supply systems of four single-family houses can be optimised and controlled. The GridSense technology used is developed and patented by Alpiq. At its core, the technology consists of various algorithms. These constantly monitor parameters such as grid load, power consumption and power generation, factor in weather forecasts and electricity rates, and use artificial intelligence to learn the behaviour of the users. Based on this information, GridSense optimises the use of power consuming appliances, such as heat pumps, electric water heaters, household batteries and charging stations for electric vehicles. The technology breaks load peaks in the power supply system, balances the loads, stabilises the distribution grid and ultimately saves electricity costs.

Four house owners in the grid area of EBM are participating in the pilot project. The four single-family houses in Biel-Benken are each equipped with a photovoltaic system, an electric water heater and a heat pump. They are connected to the same transformer and were equipped with a storage battery for the pilot project. In addition, two of the four houses have a charging station for electric vehicles. The cellars of the houses accommodate an extensive array of measuring devices. EBM and Alpiq have specified a project duration of approximately 18 months.

The pilot project will determine how well GridSense performs in modern single-family houses. Consumers are increasingly generating electricity themselves and storing it in household batteries or electric vehicles. The project will show how the interface between technology, customer (electricity consumer/electricity producer) and the electricity grid works. The optimisation of electricity flows allows energy suppliers to minimize upgrading and new development in the distribution grids and save costs. End customers also benefit from lower electricity costs and are able to optimise their own consumption.

In January 2015, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) awarded GridSense the Watt d'Or 2015 energy prize for the energy technologies category. Alpiq presented the new technology to industry experts in mid-2014. It is being developed at the SUPSI University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland. Alpiq is responsible for the industrialisation and marketing of GridSense. With this technology Alpiq is strengthening its position as an energy services provider and making a valuable contribution towards energy efficiency.