Those involved in the European energy sector are experiencing it with increasing intensity: The transition from centralised power plants based on fossil fuels towards a renewable energy system is a highly complex process that can only be mastered by intelligent control. Thus, it is generally recognised that a decentralised energy system requires artificial intelligence (AI). In the energy industry, AI has so far mainly been used for monitoring or forecasting tasks. However, as the share of electricity generated from renewable energies grows, it is evident that AI will in future also control the processes of the energy system on a large scale.
To explore new fields of AI applications in the energy industry, a Competence Centre for Cognitive Energy Systems (K-ES) has been established at the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology (Fraunhofer IEE) in Kassel in the German state of Hesse. Fraunhofer IEE is a public research institution for solutions to secure the energy supply despite volatile generation, ensure grid stability, and make the energy transition a success. The new research centre is generously funded and seeking partners from the industry to combine the expertise of researchers with those of business experts. Transmission system operators (TSOs) play a key role in this respect, as the transmission infrastructure is a crucial factor in providing the required flexibility for decentral, small-scale, and volatile electricity generation from renewable facilities.
“A decentralised system can only function via digital processes in real time and automated decisions,” explains Prof. Dr. Clemens Hoffmann, Director of Fraunhofer IEE. In the grid segment, AI is already being used today to evaluate information, identify critical situations, and support their resolution – which is the primary area of responsibility of Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs) such as the Munich-based TSCNET Services. The next step is to extend the range of applications. The K-ES examines the energy system from the AI perspective to advance AI deployment in the three areas of Cognitive Energy Economics, Cognitive Energy Networks, and Cognitive Energy System Technology. On 8 September 2020, Fraunhofer IEE will host a Web Expert Session, an online presentation of the K-ES with a discussion of cooperation possibilities.
The German research institution Fraunhofer IEE has established a Competence Centre for Cognitive Energy Systems to promote AI in the energy industry (illustration using graphics by Fraunhofer IEE)