The German government has adopted a draft law to digitalisatlise its energy transition and accelerate the rollout of smart metering by spring of 2023. The law aims to enable large scale smart metering rollout to start immediately before becoming mandatory from 2025, providing a schedule with deadlines to achieve full rollout by 2030.
The draft includes a 20% rollout by the end of 2025, 50% by 2028 and 95% by the end of 2030 for residential and small business consumers up to 100,000kWh; these targets are extended to 2028, 2030 and 2032 for large users over 100,000kWh and generators over 100kW. This staggered approach is intended to give the industry the opportunity to set up processes in a ‘warm-up phase’ and to practice controlling via the smart meter gateway before the mandatory rollout applies.
To aid the rollout, the German government will eliminate a market analysis requirement and scrap rules that required three-way technological parity among smart meter manufacturers; smart meters before this needed to be certified by three different manufacturers to be considered ‘market-ready’. Additionally, power firms will be able to install smart meters without all their features, with this being allowed to come via an application update later.
CEO of Semitech Zeev Collin told IoT Insider that the move’s is a needed one: “It is interesting that Germany, a relatively technology savvy and “green” country, only now starting to push aggressively towards a form of smart grid deployment.” Germany has approximately 50.7 million metering points, of which it’s estimated fewer than 20% are smart metered so far.
“In contrast, countries like Italy, Spain, France and others are already on their second or third smart metering upgrade cycle. This is likely, at least in part, due to the inherent complexities involved in establishing and deploying a reliable data network combined with German reluctancy to experiment and deploy “imperfect” solutions and mature them over time.” Colin states. Germany’s previous efforts to transition has lagged behind other European nations, as the country has largely failed to get going on this issue until 2018.
Germany is currently facing increasing stress in its energy infrastructure as they battle supply side shortage following its sanctions on Russia and its gas, prompting concerns of rationing as a result. Yet Germany’s transition to smart metering will give way to a better smart grid that allows greater energy conservation. “It is not possible to ignore the vital role that smart grid (i.e., constant nearly-real time view of metering data) plays in energy conservation and management through load balancing as well as in a vastly more efficient usage and planning of the energy infrastructure,“ Collin explains. “While smart metering is a natural place to start, due to its ubiquity and the potential near-term ROI, it is only the first step for Germany towards a ‘smart grid’.”
The law, although drafted for proposal, has yet to be confirmed by the country’s Parliament.