Context and objectives

Both France and Germany have set ambitious energy transition objectives. Decentralisation and digitalisation are major drivers of this transition, and the successful implementation of integrated local energy systems will play a key role in reaching national targets. These systems will communicate with each other on a cross-border level across different sectors.

As France and Germany have already developed expertise in creating such systems, both governments decided to capitalise on that to further strengthen the cross-border cooperation towards a fully integrated European energy market.

Local, integrated and sustainable

The SBI aims at enabling the European neighbouring regions to jointly build up optimised local energy systems. These systems take into account locally and regionally available energy sources, infrastructure, specific production and consumption characteristics, user structures from different sectors as well as highly ambitious clean energy goals of specific communities. The increasing uptake of new and improved technologies for decentralised energy systems offer new possibilities for such systems.

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This will be a crucial new step for the European energy market: Distribution grids of two neighbouring regions will be connected for the first time through a multi-energy smart grid, completing high voltage interconnections with local, mid-voltage integration at DSO-level. This offers new optimisation possibilities in managing the electricity balance. It also enables the local DSOs to jointly overcome some of the current challenges such as the increased share of intermittent renewable energies and the deployment of electro-mobility.

The SBI is planned as a replicable European project leading the way for further cross-border cooperation in optimising energy systems. This project will offer various possibilities for experimental smart grid use cases concerning the optimisation of the electricity distribution systems, smart mobility solutions and multi-energy sub-systems.

It will provide an opportunity to assess the socio-economic benefits of these use cases through a cost-benefit analysis (CBA). The project partners will be enabled to identify regulatory hindrances to a better DSO integration and possible solutions to adapt the existing regulatory patterns, for an enhanced and fully integrated EU energy market.

Project modules and key activities

New generation smart grids follow a multi-sector approach. They contribute to developing integrated and optimised local energy systems, focusing on all kinds of energy supply, such as heating, cooling and electricity. The SBI is based on a new systemic approach. Three closely interlinked modules will develop solutions allowing the integration of energy supply from various sustainable sources and will secure optimal utilisation of the local and regional infrastructure and resources:

Electricity and data backbone

Optimising the development and operational process of the electricity distribution systems in the cross-border area, through an improved match of local electricity production and consumption at DSO level and the integration of flexibilities.

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  • Analysing the key-characteristics of the potential areas in the cross-border region and selecting the most suitable one.
  • Performing transnational grid analyses, in order to assess different grid development scenarios until 2035
  • Designing smart grid architecture and IT processes: Creating a compatible mechanism as a base for a joint French-German standard (and eventually EU), for the optimisation of the cross-border electricity distribution system
  • Investigating the regulatory issues associated to the project, in particular compliance guidelines

Smart mobility
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Optimising the development and operational process of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, considering the electricity grid constraints.

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Developing a smart mobility roadmap for the cross-border region including:

  • A mobility analysis of the cross-border area
  • A charging infrastructure deployment plan including the impact on the electricity grid
  • The development of smart mobility cases and corresponding solutions and services
  • An integration plan of mobility cases into the smart grid
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  • Flexibility and sector coupling
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    Integrating flexibilities provided by buildings and industries in the region and coupling the electricity and heating sectors through district heating and cooling systems. 

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    Identifying possible flexible providers for the project, analysing their consumption/production profiles and estimating their flexibility potential, focusing on:

    • Municipalities willing to join the project either through their district heating facilities or public buildings
    • Large energy consumers both from the public and private sectors, considering or already realising an effort to monitor their energy consumption, and likely to join in the system as active demand response players, valuing their flexibilities on the market
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  • Project development

    The project is until the end of 2019 in the study phase (Budget: €2.3 million).
    timeline

    Analysed implementation areas

    The two border areas analysed by the SBI are presented below. The results of the grid analysis show a higher interest for the interconnector in the border area Thionville-Perl. Therefore, the cost benefit analysis will focus on this area.

    Results and publications

    Publication 1

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    Publication 2

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