11 Jan 2023, 13:39
Julian Wettengel

Germany relaunches smart meter rollout

Clean Energy Wire

The German government cabinet has adopted draft legislation to accelerate the sluggish introduction of smart meters in the country. Economy minister Robert Habeck called it an important step to digitalise energy systems. “The expansion of renewable energies and the greater use of electric cars in the transport sector and heat pumps in buildings require an intelligent link between electricity generation and consumption,” he said. The central goal of this law is to accelerate the rollout, to reduce bureaucracy and to strengthen legal certainty, the government said.

Energy industry association BDEW criticised that the draft does not represent “a coherent overall concept that advances the rollout where it matters most.” It provided, for example, that every customer can have a smart metering system installed promptly upon request. “From the energy industry's point of view, this is inefficient in the ramp-up phase because all customer requests would have to be given priority, regardless of their benefit for the overall system,” said BDEW head Kerstin Andreae.

Installation of smart meters, which allow for a digitalised and efficient operation of the electricity grid, has so far been slowed by legal uncertainties and bureaucratic hurdles, according to the German energy agency (dena). The availability of real-time data provided by the digital meters is a prerequisite for flexible electricity tariffs. Smart meters allow for efficient energy consumption and help people benefit from cheap electricity from renewable energyc sources through intelligent demand management. The first smart meter in a German household was installed in December 2018, months behind schedule. Since then, their roll-out has taken longer than planned because of security concerns and complex implementation procedures. The increasing digitalisation of the power system is seen as a requirement for the smooth integration of renewable power sources, which due to their intermittent production patterns require more intervention and load management than conventional power plants.

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