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During this year’s Mainfranken region energy summit, organized by the Würzburg-Schweinfurt and Heilbronn-Franken Chambers of Commerce and Industry (IHK), the topics debated by participants included energy transition requirements from an Industry 4.0 perspective . One of the key demands resulting from this is the digitization of electricity. It is felt that intelligent measurement systems are the only basis on which supply and demand can be analyzed and controlled with the aim of maximizing stability of supply. However, the digitized data flow and its analysis present new requirements with regard to protecting the IT infrastructure that underpins the process.

According to Kay Tidten, head of the IT, IT Security, Critical Infrastructure and Intelligent Measurement Systems section at Germany’s energy and water industry association (Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft, BDEW), the onus here is primarily on suppliers and businesses to provide their own employees with the necessary security expertise. At the energy summit, the use of blockchain technology in energy trading, the flexible commercialization of large-scale consumers’ loads to stabilize supply networks, and the introduction of a high-performance analytical and control system were particularly named as the cornerstones of an industry-compatible Energy Transition 4.0. The DC Industry research project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has also been addressing the subject since 2016 and investigating the introduction of special direct current networks for industrial purposes.