Network infrastructures in the energy sector are among the critical infrastructures. Critical infrastructures are those that ensure the supply of essential goods and services. They form the nerve cords of our modern society. Due to their importance for the interaction of all segments of society, these infrastructures require special protection. This also applies to data in the energy supply sector, for example, the misuse of which could cause great social and economic damage. For this reason, the data obtained may only be used and processed in a way that is relevant to the matter in hand.
At the same time, digitisation has also arrived in the energy industry. It is driving forward the process of restructuring the energy system initiated with the energy turnaround in the form of more efficient processes and new business models. Several hundred energy start-ups are already supplying the energy turnaround in Germany with innovations such as virtual power plants, i.e. physical power plants that are interconnected via a platform. A ‘dedicated turnstile’ now provides them with even more support.1 Business models that drive the energy turnaround can and should also be implemented using infrastructure data.
The challenge is to reconcile the objectives and principles of using data from critical infrastructures and the need to use data for new business models. To this end, regulatory issues must also be addressed: Is all data classified as critical or is there differentiation? If so, may only a certain type of e.g. BSI-certified data centers be used for processing? Which market players would have access to the data they could use to transform value chains? How would data sovereignty then be guaranteed?
In short, the provision and secure use of infrastructure data must be clearly regulated. One option could be to use only digital data twins, as proposed in the present Use Case. In this case, it would also be possible for energy suppliers or third parties to develop new business models based on this data. Some operators of critical information already provide such data twins which can be used by others for their own business models. Thus, third parties could also access the data at "stromausfall.de".
What added value does the "GAIA-X project" offer?
GAIA-X allows the storage of correspondingly sensitive data, which is subject to the Ordinance on the Identification of Critical Infrastructures (KRITIS) regulation, in appropriate storage locations that meet the legal requirements. GAIA-X also enables the consolidation of sensitive and less sensitive data where the sensitive data is stored, thus creating opportunities to provide a legally compliant cloud environment.2
GAIA-X enables complete transparency and traceability of the purpose and use of the data, thus ensuring the required data sovereignty. At the same time, GAIA-X creates a uniform technological basis in the form of uniform identity and access management, as well as possibilities for certification and compliance with security levels.
GAIA-X thus creates the technical basis for digital business models in the energy sector, which are moreover scalable, because it is precisely in the GAIA-X ecosystem that many users can be gained, even in other domains.