“Standardisation must take top priority again”

Interview with
Michael Teigeler, Managing Director of the German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies (DKE), about the vision of the “All Electric Society”.“

tec.news: What is your definition of the “All Electric Society”?

Michael Teigeler: The “All Electric Society” is our vision of a climate-neutral world: to put it simply, electrifying anything that can be electrified and digitalising anything that can be digitalised. The electrical energy required for this will primarily be generated from renewable sources. Another important aspect is the digital linking of all sectors that previously are operated or managed separately, thereby establishing technical data connections. This allows us to incorporate a certain level of intelligence into the overall system, something we refer to as “smartification”. Integrating this intelligence into the system is the only way we can create the vision of a sustainable world. By reconciling production and consumption and incorporating the issue of energy efficiency, we will be in a position to successfully make the  “All Electric Society” a reality. Here, we are essentially talking about an “All Electric and Connected Society” – as hydrogen and e-fuels are also included, these being produced electrically as well. Whereas up until now we focussed on the smartification of the energy sector with “Smart Grid”, today we are going a step further: we want to connect the other sectors with one another, such as industry, mobility and smart home. We are thereby talking about an integrative structure in which electricity plays a key role, but not the only role.


tec.news: How does the “All Electric Society” contribute to sustainability?

Michael Teigeler: I always say, "the best energy is the energy that does not need to be produced because it is not needed". Intelligently networking the sectors allows us to create a balance between production and consumption – combined with a corresponding energy efficiency. The increase in energy efficiency is much greater than any other effects we are capable of generating through the “All Electric Society”. Sustainability is realised by energy efficiency gains. Electricity provides us with the immediate advantage of being able to generate electrical energy without emissions, to transmit it without emissions and to consume it without emissions. With any other energy source, additional effort is required – and an intermediate electrical step is usually needed to be able to maintain zero emissions. Of course, there are other energy sources that are currently the topic of discussion and discourse, but they ultimately offer no real alternative.


tec.news: What contribution can connectivity make to the “All Electric Society”? 

Michael Teigeler: As part of the measures to implement and guarantee connectivity across the board, so to speak, we will be connecting and networking things to a much greater extent than before. Connectivity and compatibility within the context of intelligence and smartification are key elements here.

In this context, two aspects come into play: ​​electrical energy and ​​data / digital twins. In terms of energy, there is an urgent need to develop appropriate protection concepts and safety standardisation measures for the issue of DC. However, we cannot do this on our own; we must rely on impetus from industry. We are not initiators of standards, but rather the platform for carrying out standardisation. This brings legal certainty for the planner, the project developer, the tradesperson and ultimately the operator.


tec.news: What contribution does standardisation by IEC and DKE make in this context? What significance does the German Standardisation Strategy Forum have here?

Michael Teigeler: Standardisation provides the architectural framework for the “All Electric Society”. We are the creators of this framework: we look after the issues of compatibility, functionality, security – all on a comprehensive, holistic basis and ideally as an international standard. It is very important in this context that the standard becomes digital! It must be a machine-readable, fully digital standard. Paper-based standards have become unusable when it comes to advancing the “All Electric Society”. Only with a machine-interpretable standard can we apply a standard to the entire digital process and value chain.
Looking to the Federal Government`s Strategy Forum, we are naturally pleased that the issue of standardisation is being recognised and appreciated by politicians. We now will take advantage of the opportunity and utilise this momentum to refocus on the relevance of standardisation. I do not believe it is being fully embraced yet: many companies have not yet discovered the strategic instrument of standardisation. They still view it as a burden to be shouldered rather than a strategic component.


tec.news: What goals have you set for the coming years?

Michael Teigeler: We must find our voice again and play an audible role in the international concert of standards. We used to be leaders in standardisation, but unfortunately, we are no longer in this position.
Standards are what shape the future. We can discuss a lot in strategy forums, we can also talk about the geopolitical relevance of standards, but in the end the standards have to be created and written. We are still strong in the area of ​​technical standardisation, but we are continually losing ground to large nations such as China, the US and India. And we will be picking up speed, as politicians often regulate in advance to ensure legal certainty. This is not always the best solution.
We are currently developing a standardisation roadmap for the “All Electric Society” and are working to create a map of the entire subject area. We will then work our way through in a structured manner. We are steering the standardisation activities in the DKE by lending our expertise to set the correct direction – for example, if we believe that there is still a need for important security or interoperability standards with respect to the connecting of data rooms.
This allows ideas to be discussed and debated together. With this exchange platform, we are providing a solid foundation for the vision of the “All Electric Society”.