Intelligent Network Management and Control in Energy Systems with Decentralized Generation Structure

Project period: 25.08.2020 - 30.06.2022

This project is ERFE funded and receives funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the State of Brandenburg. We received a grant from the MWFK program for the promotion of infrastructure for research, development and innovation (EFRE).

Objective of the project

Within the framework of the energy transition, the German government is aiming for a 65 percent reduction of greenhouse gases by 2030 compared with 1990. By 2040, greenhouse gases must be reduced by 88 percent and greenhouse gas neutrality must be achieved by 2045 on a binding basis.

Achieving the abovementioned political goals without jeopardizing grid stability and thus supply security requires overcoming numerous technological challenges. From a grid operation perspective, two aspects in particular are worth highlighting. First, a majority of renewable energy sources (RES) is coupled to the grid via inverters, i.e. power electronic components. Second, most RES are connected to the medium-voltage (MV) and low-voltage (LV) levels. This results in serious changes in both the structure and dynamics of the power grid. However, these are not taken into account in conventional network analysis and operation procedures. Therefore, it is essential to develop new modeling, simulation, monitoring and control methods for RES-based power grids that ensure reliable and efficient grid operation in the future. This will require a shift from the current hierarchically structured top-down energy grids to flexible and intelligent energy grids of the future using active distribution networks.

Another consequence of the drastic changes and restructuring of our energy systems is that "new ground" is being broken in many areas. As a result, purely analytical and simulative studies are no longer sufficient to reliably assess the functionality of intelligent, distributed operating strategies and resources. Instead, comprehensive experimental validations of the new technologies under realistic conditions are indispensable in order to investigate and demonstrate their safe and robust deployment. This aspect is becoming increasingly important in future energy systems with highly networked and heterogeneous plants and actors. In such systems of systems, an isolated consideration of individual system components is no longer permissible. Instead, the functionality of individual subsystems must be validated in interconnected operation. The complexity of future energy systems requires methodical approaches with reliable quality, robustness and (cyber) security properties. At the same time, new, integrated concepts for control technology as well as grid control centers are required, which will enable the operation of future smart grids to be coordinated and monitored efficiently and flexibly.

In order to be able to develop viable and sustainable solutions for the described challenges, a power-hardware-in-the-loop (PHIL) laboratory was set up within in project "Intelligent Network Management and Control in Energy Systems with Decentralized Generation Structure" (in german: “Intelligente Netzführung und -regelung in Energiesystemen mit dezentraler Erzeugerstruktur” - INES) at the Department of Control Systems and Network Control Technology (FG RuN) of the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus - Senftenberg, which replicates the basic physical properties of future sustainable electrical energy systems. The PHIL principle means that the electrical grid and the interfaces between the systems and the grid are implemented in hardware, while parts of the generator-side properties are simulated with real-time computers. The latter make it possible to accurately represent the behavior of any components on the grid, e.g. batteries, wind turbines, combined heat and power plants or Power2X plants such as electrolysers and heat pumps, using suitable software models. This creates a wide range of flexibilization options in operation.

The INES laboratory was set up as a three-phase system at 230/400V level in the laboratory hall of the FG RuN. In order to represent the essential characteristics of future energy systems, the system contains both a classic rotating machine (controllable synchronous generator, 20 kVA) and a completely controllable inverter system (15 kVA), which represents the connection of decentralized RES and Power2X systems to the electrical distribution grid. A grid emulator (50 kVA) including a transformer is used to represent the interconnected large-scale power system. All laboratory components are equipped with real-time computers and thus PHIL-capable. This setup allows in particular the investigation of the following main objectives with the help of INES:

  • Development of intelligent control and operation algorithms for smart grids for system integration and intelligent control of the entire system with the integration of RES and Power2X plants;
  • Method and algorithm development for fault and cyber-attack detection based on analysis of local measurement data;
  • Development of innovative control technology and grid control center concepts;
  • Creation of benchmark scenarios and standardized tests for the validation of smart grid technologies.

Due to the carefully coordinated combination of electrical hardware with real-time computing systems, the INES laboratory represents a flexible, state-of-the-art, modular development and validation platform that enables innovative and internationally visible research in the field of distributed, autonomous and self-organizing grids and supports the development of Lusatia as a model region for decentralized energy supply and energy technology.