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"The technologies needed for greater energy efficiency are already here," says Anke Hüneburg, head of Energy at the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (ZVEI) , "but they cannot be viewed in isolation from energy use management and flexibility. How much energy is needed, when is it needed, and where?" This is where digitization has a key role to play, as Hüneburg explains: "The data made available by energy sector digitization make it possible to use existing technology solutions more efficiently and flexibly, while achieving a cost-effective, profitable overall energy system."

The electrical engineering industry is currently pursuing a number of approaches to this, including some that are radically new. The ZVEI's DC-INDUSTRIE project is a case in point. This is a bold new research initiative looking at whether, and to what extent, industrial energy supply systems can be converted to intelligent, open DC networks. "Germany's electrical engineering industry stands for high-efficiency technologies, products and systems. It is a provider of energy services that enable the realization of state-of-the art solutions for energy production, distribution, storage and use," Anke Hüneburg explains. In April, visitors can see a detailed concept for DC grid technology in Hall 12 as part of the Integrated Energy sector .

Advanced energy system hardware is one part of the smart grid equation. The other is smart software, and it is a hot topic with many software development firms all around the world. "Today, energy management means much more than merely digitally capturing and visualizing energy data," says Anna Brunckhorst from German software company IngSoft GmbH . "Any proper energy management software also needs to be able to digitally integrate all relevant upstream and downstream processes, including facility management processes." Ultimately all energy system optimizations, be they supply-side, demand-side or in industry, are about energy efficiency and conservation. And together, they add up to major change – and hence major opportunities for smart companies. First-time HANNOVER MESSE exhibitor gridX GmbH (Munich, Germany) is one company that is ready for the transformation challenge. "We aim to revolutionize the energy supply system," explains sales manager Simon Poos, referring to the company's gridBox product. gridBox is a hatbox-sized gateway module running a sophisticated software system that interfaces with the company's gridX cloud platform to process millions of data points daily. It is used by businesses and households to monitor and manage their use of self-generated electricity.

Sweden, like Germany, is proactively engaging with the energy transition. As the official Partner Country of HANNOVER MESSE 2019 it will be fielding a strong lineup of companies at the show, including a good many with digital energy stories to tell. Flexibility and digitization are the keys to transitioning Sweden's energy system to 100 percent renewable energy. "Looking at transmission, it's obvious that intelligent, digitized networks are fundamental to achieving tomorrow's sustainable energy supply system," says Dr. Verena Adamheit, the German-Swedish Chamber of Commerce project director in charge of Sweden's Partner Country showcase at the upcoming HANNOVER MESSE. "We will also need to harness the full potential of digital solutions in industry and in building technical systems if we are to achieve efficiency gains. The same sorts of considerations hold true for the transport sector and energy storage: the continued electrification of society will simply not be possible without digital solutions." According to Dr. Adamheit, Sweden has a "strong tradition in IT and was an early adopter of digital technologies thanks to forward-looking companies like Ericsson." Sweden was, she said, also one of the first countries to start expanding its broadband infrastructure and continues to push ahead with the development of a bold digitization strategy. Sweden also has a very positive investment climate. It invests heavily in R&D, and its population is by and large very tech-savvy and open to technological innovation and new digital technologies. This combination of factors is what made possible the "Swedish technology miracle" that has brought the world such big names as Skype, Spotify, Klarna and iZettle. In fact, in many segments, Sweden is way ahead of the rest of the world. For example, it has already completed the rollout of smart metering, meaning the way is now clear for the rapid further development of smart home applications, intelligent grid monitoring, and electric mobility. Dr. Adamheit confirms that Sweden will be presenting a number of highly promising new digital business models at HANNOVER MESSE 2019.