Munich, December 6, 2023 – What was eagerly awaited is now certain: on November 27, the Bundesnetzagentur (German Federal Network Agency), or BNetzA for short, published its specifications on §14a of the Energy Industry Act (EnWG). This will result in a number of changes – including some for private households. The regulations will come into force as early as January 1, 2024. A gridX expert explains why the regulations are particulary beneficial for private households.
From the outset, §14a was intended as an emergency provision, which means that it only becomes active in the most extreme situations. After two consultation phases, this remains unchanged. "It is important to clarify to the public when and how §14a does and does not apply," says Robert van der Meulen, Team Lead Customer Consulting at gridX, Europe's leading smart energy company. He adds that, at present, there is often uncertainty among non-experts as to how §14a affects them personally. The fact is that the BNetzA has now published its stipulations on §14a, setting out how controllable consumption devices will be handled in the future and what households can expect from January 1. According to van der Meulen, some aspects of this are extremely positive.
Luring cost reductions
Above all, the gridX expert sees the stipulation of a possible reduction in grid fees for private households as groundbreaking. "This allows the BNetzA to give households a much more active role," says van der Meulen. From the beginning of 2024, it will be necessary to agree with the grid operator that consumption can be temporarily restricted in situations of absolute congestion, but that the household will receive a significant reduction in grid fees as a benefit. Two variants are possible: module one with a flat-rate reduction in annual charges of between €110 and €190 depending on the grid area; module two comprises a reduction in the retail price of up to 60 percent. For those who opt for module one, module three will also be available from 2025, giving them the opportunity to benefit even more from time-variable grid usage fees and thus lower costs further.
Energy management as an essential part of the every home
The BNetzA also acknowledges for the first time that smart energy management solutions can help households compensate for temporary restrictions in the local power supply. This is because, in the event of a bottleneck that threatens to cause acute damage or overload the grid, operators will, in the future, be allowed to reduce the grid load. This means that the power consumption of appliances with an output of more than 4.2 kilowatts, including heat pumps or private charging devices for electric cars, may be temporarily dimmed to this power limit. Household appliances, including ovens and washing machines, are not affected, as they have a lower individual output. "However, the power is never cut off completely. The capacity is only reduced for a short time, so an electric car simply charges more slowly," says van der Meulen. This is precisely where smart energy management comes into its own: if grid supply is restricted by the grid operator and a solar system is available in a household, the production of this self-generated energy can balance out the throttled power supply. In such a situation, an energy management system can then ensure that the heat pump or wallbox can continue to operate with its own electricity – and thus without restriction. As a result, the comfort and needs of energy management system users is not hindered.
The double benefit from maximum self-sufficiency
Anyone with a smart energy system at home, consisting of a solar system, an energy management system, as well as either a wallbox or a heat pump, will particularly benefit from the new BNetzA regulations. As a rule, intervention by the grid operator should hardly be noticeable and there will also be advantageous reductions in grid charges for the household. The energy management system can also create transparency: information and the dimming signal are securely communicated via the smart meter gateway. The energy management system can then integrate this data and thus not only optimally control the energy flows in the house, but also make interventions visible to the owner. The expert has one last tip for anyone who wants to further minimize their potential restrictions: as self-generated electricity is only available when the sun is shining, it makes sense to integrate a battery storage system into the home's energy structure, explains van der Meulen. "This allows you to further maximize the self-sufficiency of your home and make self-generated green electricity available even at times without active production," he says.
((Photo: © gridX GmbH, Reprint free of charge; Image caption))
Dreams of the future and soon to be reality? This is what it could look like when a smart energy management system integrates and displays power dimming information from the grid operator and uses it to optimize all of a household's energy flows.
gridX is Europe's leading smart energy company based in Aachen and Munich. With its IoT platform XENON, gridX enables manufacturer-independent monitoring and management of distributed energy resources. XENON allows partners to develop and scale energy management solutions faster than ever before. By partnering with gridX, Fastned is able to install more charging points at sites without the need for costly grid extensions, and the Viessmann Group is able to offer its customers intelligent and integrated home energy management systems.