Ed Netze uses NB-IoT to monitor grid circuits

  • May 18, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Southern Baden-based grid operator Ed Netze is using Deutsch Telekom NB-IoT mobile communications technology for remote monitoring of short-circuit indicators.

Having completed a proof-of-concept study, the German company will this year upgrade the first 250 short-circuit indicators in collaboration with Deutsche Telekom, to be followed by a further 250 NB-IoT devices in 2023.

“Last year, we spent a number of months testing five mobile devices at regional distribution substations for several weeks at a time,” said Arkadius Kolloch, head of control technology at Ed Netze, who headed up the testing phase. “We were impressed by the quality of data communication, backed up by rapid fault localisation. This allows us to deploy our installation engineers more effectively across our expansive network. The more information we can get from the network, the faster we can localise and, ultimately resolve, faults.”

Incorporating these local substations into the central remote monitoring concept should help reduce grid downtime.

The communications technology allows problems to be pinpointed accurately, eliminating the need for time-consuming inspection trips and fault tracing. The data situation allows Ed Netze to fix supply interruptions faster with little disruption for grid users.

“The expansion of remote monitoring represents a major step forward and our grid customers will benefit from a further improvement in our System Average Interruption Duration Index, or Saidi,” said Franziska Heidecke, head of digitalisation and innovation at Ed Netze. “This enables us to maintain a high quality of supply within the Ed Netze territory.”

Dennis Nikles, CEO of Deutsche Telekom IoT, added: “NB-IoT is a 5G standard for massive IoT applications, making it a sound choice for the future. The signals work even in heavily shielded buildings and underdeveloped sites, making it ideal for Ed Netze’s purposes.”

ED Netze uses plug-and-play technology to install energy-efficient NB-IoT devices from Exelonix in transformer stations. Data are transmitted by the dedicated Deutsche Telekom NB-IoT network, while the devices are operated and monitored in the cloud.

ED Netze is the grid operator for southern Baden. It employs a workforce of around 350 to maintain a power supply to its 295,000 grid customers and incorporate the 20,000 local feed-ins. It supports communities with grid-related services such as operational management of the water, street lighting and broadband networks. Its territory extends from the region south of Freiburg to Hochrhein in the west, and from north of Villingen-Schwenningen to Lake Constance in the east.

The distribution grid operator delivers construction, operation and maintenance services in the high, medium and low-voltage range. Its mission is to ensure grids are well-equipped for the energy landscape of the future. Ed Netze is represented by local support points throughout the entire southern Baden region. The company is part of the Energiedienst Holding group.