The Smart Border Initiative has involved a broad range of relevant stakeholders from France and Germany. To kick-off the project, an intensive exchange took place with project partners in the border area, who contributed actively to the design of the project.

Project promoters

The project promoters are responsible for the planning and the design of the smart grid as well as for its implementation and operation. Furthermore, they are establishing an interface to other relevant energy sectors such as mobility and heating/cooling which will be included in the management of the smart grid.

As main Distribution System Operator (DSO) in France Enedis manages 1.3 million km of electric lines i.e. 95% of the electricity distribution network in continental France - also in the project area. Enedis is responsible for a continuous public electricity service and ensures a non-discriminatory access to the distribution network. The DSO maintains and develops the network but also innovates in the areas of information systems and metering.

Innogy SE is a leading German energy company with activities in 16 countries across Europe. With its three business segments Renewables, Grid & Infrastructure and Retail, innogy addresses the requirements of a modern, decarbonised, decentralised and digital energy world. Its activities focus on its about 22 million customers, and on offering them innovative and sustainable products and services which enable them to use energy more efficiently and improve their quality of life.

Energis Netzgesellschaft is a regional grid operator from the Saarland responsible for the planning, operation and marketing of electricity and gas distribution grids with around 10.000 renewable energy producers connected to the electricity distribution grid. Energis covers an electricity distribution grid with a length of 6.600 km and a gas distribution grid with a length of 1.500 km. Approximately 230.000 people are supplied with electricity and gas.

Project coordinators

The project coordinators provide assistance to the project promoters regarding the organisation and implementation of the project study phase, especially with regard to smart mobility and sector coupling. They support the involvement of key stakeholders in the project region and the management of the political interfaces.

Tilia is a services, co-development and consulting firm founded in 2009 by a Franco-German group of managers with broad international experience and a common vision of environmental challenges, both in public utilities and services, and in industrial activities. Tilia group has now more than 500 references and is active in 20 countries, employing a team of over 150 people. Its work is based on partnerships with its clients to develop innovative infrastructure and services, and to enhance the operational and environmental performance of communities, utilities and industries. Tilia has participated in the conception and development of the SBI project since its beginning in 2016, also providing financial assistance for its conception. It has taken a leading role in designing the project and gathering relevant French partners and stakeholders so that the first idea of a cross-border and multi-energies smart-grid could turn into a concrete realisation.

dena is Germany's national energy agency based in Berlin. It advises politics, business and society on the implementation of the energy transition. It looks at the energy system as a whole and advocates energy efficiency. dena is involved in the consumption sectors of buildings, electricity and transport as well as in questions of energy generation, distribution and storage. Since its foundation in 2000 dena has implemented over 650 projects in the context of energy transition. dena’s shareholders are the Federal Republic of Germany as well as the KfW Group. Together with the French Energy Agency ADEME, dena runs the Franco-German Energy Platform, which was commissioned to develop a concept for a Franco-German showcase project in the border region on behalf of the Franco-German Ministry Council.

Project initiators

 The project initiators launched the idea of the project and partly financed its conception.

Inter alia, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (Germany) is responsible for the German energy transition. In this regard, the Ministry guarantees an affordable, secure and environmentally friendly energy supply. The Ministry supported the Smart Border Initiative from the very beginning and provided financial assistance for the initiation of project.

The Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition (France) is responsible for French public policies related to the environment, energy and climate. The Ministry supports the Smart Border Initiative since its conception phase and facilitated financial assistance for the initiation of the project.

The French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) is active in the implementation of public policy in the areas of the environment, energy and sustainable development. The Agency provides expertise and advisory services to businesses, local authorities and communities, government bodies and the public at large, to enable them to establish and consolidate their environmental action. As part of this work ADEME helps finance projects, from research to implementation, in the areas of waste management, soil conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy, raw materials savings, air quality, noise abatement, circular economy transition and food wastage abatement. In 2014 ADEME and its partner dena launched the Franco-German Energy Platform. In the context of the Smart Border Initiative, ADEME supported the initiation of the project also through financial assistance. ADEME is a public agency under the joint authority of the Ministry for an Ecological and Solidary Transition and the Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation.

The Franco-German Energy Platform is a joint initiative of dena and ADEME, the national energy agencies of France and Germany. It was founded in 2014 and aims to initiate, develop and support Franco-German cooperation projects in the context of the energy transition in both countries. To this aim, the platform closely cooperates with partners and stakeholders from business, society, science and politics. Amongst others, the platform is active in the areas of energy efficient industries, energy efficient buildings, renewable energies and grids.

Project partners

The project partners of the Smart Border Initiative have been involved in the design of the project.

ARGE SOLAR e.V. is a non-profit association that provides information, advice and training to citizens, businesses and municipalities in the field of renewable energies, energy saving and energy efficiency. Founded in 1989, ARGE SOLAR brings together 23 active members (energy suppliers of the state of Saarland) and 10 associate members such as the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Labour, Energy and Traffic, the University of Applied Sciences (htw saar) or Saarland University (UdS). Furthermore, it is a member of the Federation of German energy- and climate protection agencies (eaD) since 2009.
The association is initiator of the INTERREG project GReENEFF, a cross-border network to promote innovative projects within the scope of sustainable development and energy efficiency. The GReENEFF project has been launched in 2016 and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The Institute for Future Energy and Material Flow Systems (izes) was founded in 1999. As a research institute izes is working in the field of future energy systems, energy markets and mobility. izes supports environmental and climate protection by initiating and conducting application-oriented research in this field.

CASC (Communauté d’Agglomération Sarreguemines Confluences) is a Conurbation Community in the Sarreguemines area with 38 cities and 66.000 inhabitants.
It has taken initiatives for the energy transition on its territory since 2009 and has developed internal competences to lead related projects in the fields of sustainable mobility and energy efficiency in buildings.
CASC is also a founding member of the EuroDistrict SaarMoselle (European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation – EGTC) and has already led several projects in cooperation with its German neighbours.

EDF Deutschland is the German subsidiary of the French energy utility Électricité de France. It supports the German energy transition in investing in new business models (as storage, green hydrogen, smart city or e-mobility) in cooperation with local players.
EDF has been active in the field of research in Germany for over 10 years through the European Institute for Energy Research (EIFER) based in Karlsruhe with more than 100 researchers.

EIFER (Europäisches Institut für Energieforschung EDF-KIT EWIV) is a joint research institute founded by Electricité de France (EDF) together with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). EIFER employs more than 100 scientists and carries out projects at international scale with a specific focus on Germany and France. The institute provides interdisciplinary expertise for the development of sustainable energy concepts for cities and regions. Furthermore, EIFER works on a number of technologies, especially in the areas of biomass, geothermal energy, and district heating as well as hydrogen technologies.

Gireve is a French start-up founded in 2013 developing solutions in the field of electric mobility and charging infrastructure. Gireve offers a platform for establishing collaborative frameworks between charging point operators and e-mobility service providers and enables business relationships setup, agreement signature, real-time data exchanges and settlement features.

With over 600 partners, Hubject operates the biggest international B2B market place for digital services dedicated to the concept of customer-friendly EV charging. More than 140,000 charging points on four continents are connected to the open market platform. Shareholders of the startup include BMW Group, Bosch, Daimler, EnBW, innogy, Siemens and Volkswagen Group.

MHyRABEL is a project implemented on the territory of the “Communauté de Communes Cœur de Pays Haut” and that is led by a consortium composed of SODEGER Haute Lorraine (a semi-public company composed of local communities and ENGIE GREEN) , industrials and researchers. It aims at experimenting the local energy transition through a multi-usage valorisation of hydrogen e.g. for mobility, heating grid, electricity production and injection in the gas grid. The project is located in France in a 4-border region, close to Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium.

Regionalverband Saarbrücken is a regional association representing 5 cities (Saarbrücken, Völklingen, Püttlingen, Sulzbach and Friedrichsthal) as well as 5 municipalities (Heusweiler, Riegelsberg, Quierschied, Kleinblittersdorf and Großrosseln). It is engaging for climate protection in the region, balancing regional disparities, strengthening the region as a location for industry and business and fostering the Franco-German relationship in the border area (Eurodistrict SaarMoselle).

Siemens AG is a global technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 170 years. As a global pacesetter in energy Siemens Gas and Power (GP) comprises broad competencies across the entire energy value chain and offers a uniquely comprehensive portfolio for utilities, independent power producers, transmission system operators and the oil and gas industry. Siemens Smart Infrastructure (SI) is shaping the market for intelligent, adaptive infrastructure for today and the future. It addresses the pressing challenges of urbanization and climate change by connecting energy systems, buildings and industries. SI provides customers with a comprehensive end-to-end portfolio from a single source – with products, systems, solutions and services from the point of power generation all the way to consumption.

Verteego is a data management technology company, founded in Paris in 2008. The startup specialised in artificial intelligence has created the Verteego Brain platform used by oustanding enterprises.
The platform is based on a full-cloud technology consisting of a set of modules that can be activated according to the characteristics of the projects.

VSE is a regional energy supplier and distribution grid operator located in Saarbrücken. The company offers technical solutions and energy services. Shareholders of VSE are innogy, the Saarland government as well as administrative districts and municipalities of Saarland.