Today, the looming threat of climate change is driving utilities across the world to deploy smart grids and enhance the management and distribution of renewable energy. Furthermore, the increasing electrification of the heating and transport sectors to bring a check on climate change is causing a paradigm shift in energy management and its transmission. As a result, centralised energy systems are now becoming increasingly distributed, facilitating new assets like wind turbines, photovoltaic power plants, and electric vehicle charging points to be connected at lower voltage levels. Despite understanding the potential, a majority of grid operators cannot cope with this energy transition due to their reliance on manual processes and isolated legacy IT systems that lack the solutions needed to leverage smart grid technologies. This is where Germany-based envelio is able to showcase their expertise through and through. envelio helps grid operators with its SaaS solution Intelligent Grid Platform (IGP), which is powered by the company’s proprietary advanced analytics algorithms to improve grid data quality and enable the rapid creation of digital grid models. “IGP completely integrates smart grid technologies into grid planning and operation processes to enable faster and more cost-effective system integration for renewable energy plants,” says Dr. Simon Koopmann, co-founder and CEO of envelio.

Dr. Koopmann, along with four other PhD scholars, founded envelio in 2017. With a vision to create an innovative digitalisation platform for energy grids, the quintet combined their software development expertise with their domain know-how from previous power system research experiences to develop IGP. Subsequently, envelio experienced rapid growth, going from a team of five to a 45-strong team of employees that it is today, passionate about helping the overall energy landscape cope with the upcoming shift to renewable energy systems.

To effectively accomplish this mission, IGP follows a three-pronged approach. In its first step, IGP links formerly isolated data sources and leverages machine learning algorithms to correct data errors and simplifies the creation of validated digital grid models. This enables platform transparency for grid operators and renewable energy farms. Step two involves the automation of internal processes, such as evaluating grid connection requests, determining cost-effective measures for grid expansion, and more, which boosts the efficiency of grid planning and energy distribution workflows.

IGP completely integrates smart grid technologies into grid planning and operation processes to enable faster and more cost-effective system integration for renewable energy sources

Lastly, IGP addresses the need for flexible workflows in daily grid operation by offering optimisation frameworks to grid operators to operate and maintain smart grids.

At the core of envelio’s unmatched success are the innovative algorithms that were developed by the founders during their time at RWTH Aachen University—one of the leading energy research clusters in Europe. To enhance IGP’s ability to support a wide range of smart grid technologies, the founding team combined state-of-the-art optimisation algorithms along with solution methods based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Besides, with a highly scalable distributed computing architecture, the envelio team designed IGP to process enormous amounts of data. An instance of IGP’s robust capability can be testified through envelio’s collaboration with Westnetz—the largest German distribution network operator for electricity and gas. The company utilised IGP to process data from approximately 60,000 low voltage grids with more than 4.8 million grid customers.

In another instance, envelio assisted E.DIS—a subsidiary of E.ON, which is one of the largest utility companies in Germany—to quickly assess connection requests of wind and solar parks into their energy grid. Initially, due to a meteoric rise in wind farms in E.DIS’ grid area, the utility firm struggled to manually process the enormous amounts of grid connection requests. With IGP’s automated connection request evaluation capability, the client was able to process grid connection requests quickly and efficiently. “We also enhanced E.DIS’ customer service by offering a web portal to help wind park developers to get feedback on their grid connection online in seconds instead of weeks,” adds Dr. Koopmann.

Basking in the glory of these successful client stories, envelio is headstrong to continue its journey to streamline energy grid digitalisation for its clients. Looking ahead, envelio aims to expand the capabilities of IGP and extend its innovative capabilities for the management of gas and heat grids as well. With such an ambitious roadmap, envelio is ready to accomplish its objective of transforming knowledge from their research and academia into enhanced grid infrastructures.