“Climate and energy price crises offer an opportunity”

Cross-sectoral coupling and cognitive systems are important building blocks for mastering the recent challenges of energy supply

Prof. Bretschneider, as a result of the war in Ukraine, the energy transition is to be accelerated: The German government wants to generate 80 percent of electricity from renewables by 2030. Is this a realistic goal?

Peter Bretschneider: Given the current share of around 50 percent, that is more than ambitious. The problem may not be with the technologies themselves, but also their supply availability in the face of rapidly growing demand, potential supply chain problems, cost increases, increasing shortage of skilled workers and so on. In addition to this, there are competing goals: The so-called energy policy triangle includes not only developing renewables, but also affordability and security of supply. On the other hand, the current crisis offers a unique opportunity for disruptive change that could significantly reduce our dependence on energy imports in the medium to long term.

However, we must not consider electricity alone: Cross-sectoral energy supply – the coupling of the electricity, gas, heating/cooling and mobility sectors – is becoming increasingly important. Significant synergies and cost savings are possible, especially in buildings and neighborhoods, but this requires local energy storage and sophisticated energy management systems. The entire energy system is therefore changing. This is not new: Liberalization and the climate crisis are long-standing issues, but the current crisis is stepping up the pace and, among other things, it puts a new focus on energy efficiency, which can be tackled in the short term.


What contribution can cognitive energy systems make?

Bretschneider: The change described above involves increasing complexity and requirements. This can only be mastered by means of digitalization. In order to operate robustly and as efficiently as possible, energy management systems including AI technology are necessary – whether for load and network loss forecasts, energy use optimization including redispatch or intelligent charging.


What are services that Fraunhofer IOSB can offer in this context?

Bretschneider: Technology companies, energy suppliers and platform operators can rely on our comprehensive competence – from modeling, data preparation and automation of processes to ongoing optimization during operation, not forgetting cybersecurity, too. With our energy management suite EMS-EDM PROPHET®, we have been successful in the market for more than 20 years. New additions are the aforementioned AI solutions and cross-sector applications. With Bauhaus.MobilityLab, the growth hub SMOOD® and as part of the Open District Hub, we are involved in key flagship projects in Germany. Our customers benefit from this experience.


Prof. Bretschneider is spokesperson of the business unit Energy, Environmental and Security Systems, director of Fraunhofer IOSB-AST and head of the Cognitive Energy Systems department (KES).

Annual report »We make AI fly«

The above interview is taken from our Annual report 2021/2022, which focuses on Fraunhofer IOSB's AI application expertise.


Energy, environmental and security systems

Learn more about the fields of application and technologies of our business unit Energy, Environmental and Security Systems.