3 min read

Leipziger Stadtwerke: First German municipality to use AI for renewable energy planning.

By Susanne Rost on Feb 9, 2024 1:47:33 PM

In today's rapidly changing and digitized energy market, securing crucial innovations is essential for energy providers to gain a competitive advantage. Stadtwerke Leipzig, a leading energy distribution company and one of SpinLab’s strategic partners, embarked on a journey to secure such innovations. As the first municipal company in Germany, Leipziger Stadtwerke relies on an innovative AI-supported software solution for the planning of renewable energy installations for commercial and large customers. It was during the SpinLab accelerator program that Stadtwerke Leipzig encountered founder Christina Vogel from Elena International, who introduced them to elenova plan.

                                             elena international founders: Christina Vogel and Sabine Unseld

Transforming the energy landscape with AI

elenova plan represents a significant milestone in the creation of indicative offers in the renewable energy sector. This innovative tool enables energy providers to rapidly generate complex energy concepts for commercial and large-scale customers. By leveraging AI and behavioral models, elenova plan replaces the time-consuming processes previously carried out using self-developed Excel tools. Founder Vogel emphasizes, "elenova plan reduces the time required by energy providers and engineering firms to create offers for renewable energy projects and services from five hours to just five minutes." The underlying AI and behavioral models lead to more precise results, enabling the sales teams to efficiently advise clients in the housing, industrial, and municipal sectors.

For Stadtwerke Leipzig's sales team, elenova plan emerged as an ideal solution. Manuel Clauß, from the key account management team, explains that the company regularly advises large customers on efficiency measures and the integration of renewable energies. Previously, they relied on self-developed Excel tools, spending extensive hours crunching data to create appropriate offers. With elenova plan, the customer becomes an active participant, receiving a comprehensive analysis of their current energy situation, accurate projections, and visually compelling offers within minutes.

Tailored integration for Stadtwerke Leipzig

elenova plan's impact extended beyond its introduction in late 2021. Following a development and testing phase, the tool quickly garnered the interest of 30 energy companies, establishing itself as an indispensable platform within the industry. However, elenova plan is far from being an off-the-shelf product. Manuel Clauß and his colleagues collaborated closely with the founders, Christina Vogel and Dr. Sabine Unseld, to tailor the software to meet the specific requirements of Leipzig's Stadtwerke. They initially integrated solutions for heating, cooling, and photovoltaics. Conducting parallel tests comparing elenova plan to legacy systems, they optimized the back-end and aligned the user interface with Stadtwerke Leipzig's design principles.

SpinLab bridges the gap between innovators from the startup and corporate environment

The success of elenova plan integrated into Stadtwerke's operations underscores startup accelerators' vital role in fostering innovation. SpinLab, providing a nurturing environment, aids early-stage companies in refining ideas and scaling innovative solutions. Through SpinLab's corporate innovation services, established companies like Stadtwerke Leipzig gain a competitive edge by testing technologies and partnering with startups. This approach enhances efficiency and provides access to innovative solutions, allowing energy providers to thrive in an evolving landscape and promote sustainability and customer-centric solutions for rapidly changing needs.

This collaborative project is funded by EDIH Saxony. As part of the European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH) program of the European Union, EDIH Saxony provides comprehensive support to companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, in integrating digital technologies. By fostering research, development, and implementation of digital innovations, EDIH Saxony contributes to strengthening the regional economy and increasing digital transformation. 

Topics: Pilot Projects energy smart city Case Study partner
2 min read

12 € million funding for research project ABSOLUT II on automated driving

By Linh Pham on Dec 5, 2023 11:45:35 AM

The Industriepark Leipzig Nord is optimally connected to road traffic, but was inadequately integrated into public transportation. Only nine percent of the approximately 10,000 people working there in three shifts used public transport to commute to work. This particularly applied to employees who had flexibility in their working hours. Outside of shift change times, buses to the Leipzig-Messe S-Bahn station, which was five kilometers away, operated only every 30 minutes. However, increasing the frequency was deemed economically unfeasible. 

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) is now supporting the continuation as ABSOLUT II. Photo: IKEM

Those who want to commute to work using public transportation need seamless coverage along the entire route. The pilot project “Absolut” by the Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe aims to fill this gap - specifically with self-driving buses. For two years, the ABSOLUT autonomous bus shuttle has been operating between Leipzig Messe and the BMW plant. A modified VW e-Crafter was built in cooperation with the TU Dresden. What sets this project apart is that, unlike numerous self-driving cars that currently operate with a driver behind the wheel, the self-driving bus by Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe aims to navigate a designated route entirely driverless. However, it will maintain an empty driver's seat.

Topics: smart city
1 min read

Seamless parking solution: Leipzig's park and ride spaces in real time

By Linh Pham on Oct 13, 2023 4:04:49 PM

The Leipzig Public Transport Company (LVB), in collaboration with the City of Leipzig, has introduced an innovative feature in the LeipzigMove app. Since last month, this feature has been aimed at enhancing the use of Park-and-Ride (P+R) facilities during big events like football matches or concerts, while also providing effective guidance to drivers. It enables real-time monitoring of parking space availability on these premises. Currently, the functionality is in the testing phase.

Topics: News smart city
3 min read

SPARCS: Pioneering sustainable energy solutions in Leipzig and beyond

By Linh Pham on Aug 7, 2023 1:52:30 PM

Under the guidance of the EU initiative SPARCS (Sustainable energy Positive & zero cARbon CommunitieS), an innovative endeavor is underway to establish a comprehensive energy district in the western region of Leipzig. Collaboratively, seven European cities are dedicating their efforts to the development of an innovative framework that interconnects neighborhoods, blocks, and structures into a sophisticated smart energy ecosystem. The primary objective of this initiative is to significantly curtail CO2 emissions while concurrently augmenting the integration of renewable energy sources.

Leipzig - Leading Sustainable Transformation as a Lighthouse City

The lighthouse cities Espoo (Finland) and Leipzig (Germany) are implementing large-scale demonstration projects. Lighthouse cities are pioneers committed to creating sustainable, energy-positive, and zero-carbon communities. The EU funded project provides support as these cities address multifaceted challenges on their path to sustainability. Through inclusive management and planning models, SPARCS aims to demonstrate and validate innovative solutions for smart and integrated energy systems. These efforts will transform these cities into sustainable, zero-carbon ecosystems, enhancing the quality of life for their citizens. 

The group includes 31 partners from ten countries. In Leipzig, the venture is being carried out by the City of Leipzig along with the following partners: Leipziger Stadtwerke, University of Leipzig, Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy, Wohnen & Service Leipzig, Cenero Energy, and seecon Ingenieure.

SPARCS in Action: Realized Projects Shaping Leipzig's Future

Green electricity for the Leipzig Cotton Mill

SPARCS is transforming the former largest cotton mill (Baumwollspinnerei) site in Europe into an innovative, sustainable neighborhood. The model district at Baumwollspinnerei will feature a self-consumption photovoltaic system with energy storage, a grid connection, and a connected heating system to ensure future electricity and heat supply. Excess energy will be fed into the Stadtwerke Leipzig grid. In the realm of e-mobility, SPARCS introduces forward-looking solutions at Baumwollspinnerei. A centralized charging network for tenants and public e-car sharing is being established. Research-oriented bidirectional charging stations will enable commercial fleet vehicles to both receive and return electricity.

Exploring Real-time Energy Management

Energy management helps to optimize the energy system, detect faults, reduce losses, automate energetic functions, and make them more efficient. The data helps identify weak points, and a concept is developed to enhance the system. Recently, the Cenero Energy Showrooms opened on the historic site of the Baumwollspinnerei in Leipzig. It is with great pleasure that we announce that BITROAD managing director and SpinLab partner Lukas Zechel has been appointed COO of cenero.one, bringing his multifaceted perspective to this exciting project. In this showroom, visitors can experience Cenero.one first-hand, a state-of-the-art live energy management platform. The data presented at the showroom offers insight to the various innovative measures implemented at the Baumwollspinnerei. Here Cenero.one, analyze and report the results of the different interventions. Visitors can witness the energy dynamics of the location in a variety of charts and dashboards. 

Leipziger Stadtwerke tests holistic energy data management 

Leipziger Stadtwerke, within the SPARCS initiative, has undertaken the implementation of a holistic energy data management system aimed at facilitating coordinated interactions among diverse sectors like energy, e-mobility, producers, and consumers. This endeavor seeks to enhance data exchange across different digital systems, emphasizing interoperability. By integrating open-source programs and standardized technologies, the project established a virtual power plant (VPP) as a comprehensive energy management system.

Get here to the SPARCS website not to miss current developments and events.

Topics: News smart city
1 min read

Schkeuditz's autonomous mobility journey with Nextbike's rental bikes

By Linh Pham on Jun 8, 2023 3:55:21 PM

Since April, people in Schkeuditz have been able to rent bicycles flexibly as part of a two-year pilot project. At least 85 bicycles from the company nextbike by TIER are available in the town, which will initially be supplemented by cargo bikes. The new bike rental service is part of the "Ready for Smart City Robots" (R4R) project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport. The research project seeks to find out whether small cities are suitable for autonomous mobility systems. Where are the obstacles, and how must the infrastructure be transformed and upgraded so that something like this is feasible? Following a Europe-wide call for applications, the company nextbike was selected for the two-year pilot project, which will be extended to the city of Taucha in 2024.

Topics: News smart city
2 min read

Germany's largest solar thermal plant to be constructed in Leipzig

By Linh Pham on Apr 5, 2023 4:51:02 PM

Multi-utility Leipziger Stadtwerke will build Germany's largest solar thermal plant on a 14-hectare field in the Lausen-Grünau district of Leipzig.  Leipziger Stadtwerke is part of the SpinLab partner Leipziger Gruppe. The project is part of the city's transformation plan for district heating to more renewable energies. The plant is expected to generate around 26 GWh of heat annually. This is a significant contribution to covering Leipzig's daily heat demand in the summer, amounting to about 20%.

Topics: News smart city
3 min read

Urban Digital Twins: Leipzig's innovative approach to addressing urban challenges

By Linh Pham on Feb 16, 2023 9:38:20 AM

In an effort to support sustainable urban development through digitalization, the German Federal Government has launched a funding program for Smart Cities model projects. One such project is Connected Urban Twins (CUT). Hamburg, Munich, and Leipzig have teamed up to work on the CUT project, which aims to advance the development of urban digital twins over a five-year period. With over 30 million euros in funding from the Federal Ministry of Housing, Urban Development and Building (BMWSB), CUT has the potential to revolutionize the way cities are planned and managed.

Topics: smart city
1 min read

Engineers from Saxony want to build the world's highest wind turbines

By Linh Pham on Dec 6, 2022 4:54:54 PM

Wind power plays an essential role in the energy transition. The taller wind turbines are, the more efficiently they work, since the wind is much steadier and blows more strongly at higher heights. So why not just build them higher? Well, such height wind turbines are not so easy to construct. At least if they are built the way they have been so far, with a generator located at the hub height of the rotor blades. 

Topics: energy smart city
2 min read

The largest giga solar park is to be built in Lausitz

By Linh Pham on Oct 20, 2022 11:40:07 AM

Giga sustainable - giga efficient - giga innovative. These are the keywords of the new green business concept of the LEAG, the consortium Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG and Lausitz Energie Kraftwerke AG from Cottbus.

Topics: energy
2 min read

European Digital Innovation Hub Saxony

By Linh Pham on Sep 20, 2022 8:00:00 AM

With the support of the EU program "Digital Europe", a nationwide network of digital innovation centers, called European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH), is to be established in the European Union. Saxony successfully applied to become a European Digital Innovation Hub. The European Digital Innovation Hub Saxony bundles the competencies of four Saxon institutions. Members of the consortium are the Smart Infrastructure Hub Leipzig, the Smart Systems Hub Dresden, simul⁺InnovationHub of the State Ministry for Regional Development and, as coordinator, InfAI - Institute for Applied Informatics. For the next three years, the EU will fund the project with about 2.3 million euros.

Topics: energy smart city