Energy consumption and resource management are key environmental issues that are subject to ever tougher regulations – particularly in Europe – as part of global efforts to limit climate change. According to the SMARTer2030 report by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), using smart ICT solutions could reduce global carbon emissions by up to 20 percent. One example of these solutions is smart metering, which, according to the third Energy Package approved by the European Parliament in 2009, should be rolled out to 80 percent of European households by 2020. The benefits of smart meters for customers are well-known, as many homes and businesses today already save on energy bills by monitoring and, if necessary, adjusting their consumption habits.
For energy providers and distribution system operators, however, smart meters are just one aspect of the smart electricity grid of the future. The incentive to build smart grids is not just regulatory, but also financial: Indeed, electricity networks that are equipped with smart meters, sensors, and a communication system can be managed much more efficiently. For instance, the real-time monitoring of supply and demand allows dynamic pricing and load balancing, both of which increase the network’s profitability. Equipping a grid with M2M components also makes it possible to recognize and locate errors before outages occur, identify possible energy thefts, and automate reactions to changes in supply and demand – thus ensuring that as little energy as possible is lost. In addition, smart grids are essential for enabling the use of low-carbon technologies such as renewable power generation and electric vehicles.
M2M powers e-mobility
In fact, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has predicted that the transport sector could make up 10 percent of global electricity consumption by 2050, due to a significant increase in electric vehicles. Already, growing numbers of electric vehicle owners rely on access to efficient charging infrastructures, and typical consumption behaviors tend to create situations where everyone needs to charge their vehicle at the same hours. Now, lots of electric vehicles simultaneously charging their batteries in office parking garages or at owners’ homes would threaten to overload the power grid. According to the IEA’s Smart Grids Roadmap, smart grid technology could help here, allowing charging to be carried out more strategically, when demand is low or when electricity production from renewable sources is high.
Enio gets smart about managing vehicle charging stations
Enio, a Vienna-based software company, has chosen to get ahead of the trend and offer a solution for the smart management of electric vehicle charging stations – even if they are connected to a conventional power grid. The company uses T-Mobile Austria’s M2M platform and M2M connectivity to allow charging station operators to manage their charging stations continuously, control their output, and pass the relevant information about their availability and location on to customers. “To make the best use of our software and provide customers with the information they need, we needed a communications system as a basis which also met our exacting requirements with regard to data privacy and data security,” says Friedrich Vogel, CEO of Enio. “That’s why we chose T-Mobile’s M2M infrastructure.”
Enabled by Deutsche Telekom technology
Enio’s software solution, ETSweb, enables operators to communicate with their charging stations, access their data, and manage them from a single control center. The charging stations are equipped with M2M SIM cards from T-Mobile, which transfer data to the centralized control platform over the mobile network. The platform then provides its users with access to status information from the individual charging stations and allows them to monitor the necessary power output for each one. In addition to managing their stations centrally, they can also respond to error messages in a swift and targeted manner. This software solution, combined with Deutsche Telekom’s M2M technology, makes it possible to optimize the management of charging stations and tailor their charging services precisely to the needs of customers, operators, and utility companies at all times.