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Into the Future with Metrology - The Challenges of Energy

The Challenges of Energy

Metrology for extending the grid

In the future, power transmission and power distribution systems will have to fulfill completely new requirements: Instead of just a few centralized energy producers, there will be many decentralized ones; the electricity production from wind and solar energy will fluctuate over time; offshore wind power produced on the coast will have to be transported to conurbations in western and southern Germany; and for electromobility, a charging infrastructure will be required which extends all over the country. In addition to the creation of further transmission capacities through the construction of new grid components, intelligent information and communication technology is necessary in order to connect all energy producers and consumers in a suitable network and to coordinate the requirements in this regard.

PTB is engaging in the metrology for extending the grid and strengthening communication technology both in its own projects and, together with 18 international research partners, in the European Metrology Network (EMN) for smart grids. This joint project under the umbrella of EURAMET offers support for the standardization, testing, researching and developing of national strategies for the development and implementation of smart grids.

Smart meter gateways

Together with modern electricity meters, smart meter gateways (SMGWs) make up an intelligent metering system that will play a key role in the energy industry in the future. In 2019, PTB started issuing type-examination certificates for smart meter gateways. In compliance with the highest data security and data protection requirements, the gateways not only make it possible to process the measured energy values right on location, but also to pass these values on to consumers, network operators, energy suppliers and energy service providers via public communication networks.

PTB’s role in this is to contribute the requirements of legal metrology to this process in the interest of customer protection and fair competition. This is done by advising the authorities concerned and partners from industry, by participating in the respective standardization activities and finally by testing, assessing and certifying modern meters and smart meter gateways.


Departments involved:

Opens internal link in current windowDepartment 2.3 Electrical Energy Measuring Techniques

Opens internal link in current windowDepartment 8.5 Metrological Information Technology

Advancement of the relevant measurement technology

PTB‘s high-voltage measurement facility.

In total, around 7,500 kilometers of the power grid will have to be optimized, reinforced or newly built over the next few years. The decentralization of the energy supply and the new energy generation methods will lead to new grid structures and may bring about new challenges for safe and reliable power supply, e.g. decreasing voltage quality. This will require new measurement methods. Another new issue is that ultra-high-voltage direct current transmission lines will play an important role in the future.

PTB wants to enable reliable and traceable measurements in the field of high-voltage measurement technology – both in three-phase and direct current transmission. To this end, it is already setting up the corresponding laboratory technology to further develop power generation and measuring equipment and to improve the measurement uncertainty for the realization of the relevant quantities.

One example of this is the high-voltage measuring facility set up in 2020. It can be used to generate and precisely measure direct voltages of up to 2000 kV. In the long run, PTB plans to offer calibration services for DC voltages above 1000 kV, which are important, for example, for high-voltage direct current transmission (HVDC). One of the aims of the research carried out here is to determine, among other things, the influence which the level and the quality of the DC voltage has on measuring instruments – because superimposed voltages have a considerable influence on the service life of components in the transmission grid. Ultimately, such measurements support the security and stability of the energy supply in the European electricity grid.

Department involved:

Opens internal link in current windowDepartment 2.3 Electrical Energy Measuring Techniques

Charging devices for electric vehicles

This plug is part of an in-cable measurement system developed by PTB. With this system, the amount of energy supplied to the vehicle during the charging process can be determined and compared with the amount of energy measured in the charging station.

In 2018, PTB started to issue type-examination certificates for charging devices for electric vehicles. These charging devices now comply with all the requirements of the measures and verification legislation. Furthermore, they not only guarantee exact measurements, but also a charging process that is transparent and exactly traceable for the customer – comparable to filling a car up with petrol at a petrol station. PTB is currently the only conformity assessment body for the field of electromobility that has developed an assessment procedure for charging equipment, and it is also actively supporting the German federal government’s national development plan for electric mobility.

Department involved:

Opens internal link in current windowDepartment 2.3 Electrical Energy Measuring Techniques