Power Demand Management: using energy intelligently.

Digitalisation is also revolutionising the energy sector. For example, SBB is successfully implementing its self-developed load management software instead of making large investments in infrastructure, an innovative solution which cuts costs and makes the rail power supply more reliable.

Load management reduces peak loads in real time by briefly reducing consumers. This cleverly employs available resources and makes efficient use of the existing rail power infrastructure.

SBB’s clock-face schedule allows multiple trains to accelerate on the network at the same time. The power requirement in the traction network increases significantly during these phases. On cold days, train and points heating is also required.

With the rising volume of traffic and more and more powerful trains, the maximum power requirement is increasing. Power plants and frequency converters are reaching their limits. SBB can reduce the need to invest in new installations by making targeted cutbacks in extreme peak loads, for which consumers will need to be briefly switched off.

So SBB is taking advantage of the opportunities digitalisation presents in the energy sector too, with peak loads being cut quickly and entirely automatically. The “smart grid” is becoming a reality in the world of rail power. As a “prosumer” (a producer and consumer), SBB is optimising the interaction between production and consumption and thus contributing to the Swiss government’s energy strategy.

"With the intelligent power demand management programme, we designed an innovative solution that enables us to optimize power grid investments, reduce costs and increase the reliability of the railway power supply.” Beat Deuber, Head SBB Energy.

The benefits of Power Demand Management:

  • Digitalisation instead of expensive investments in infrastructure, investments in “Negawatt” (“negative” or “virtual” power) instead of “Megawatt” (new production assets)
  • Reduced energy costs for rail transport services
  • Increased reliability of energy supply

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