Smart Grid Laboratories Inventory

The smart grid requires an effective energy management and for this a vast amount of information needs to be handled. Assessing the new technological solutions that would best accommodate the needs of a smart grid is of vital importance. This report aims at collecting information about the smart grid topics of research, the technologies and the standards used by top organizations that hold smart grid activities at a laboratory level. For this purpose an online questionnaire has been created and used. The report presents aggregated results that give an insight into the state-of-the-art regarding the smart grid laboratories activities.

This is the second release of the Smart Grid Laboratories Inventory. The project was launched in November 2014, and the first report was issued in early 2015. The aim is to collect information about the smart grid laboratories in Europe and beyond. 

One of the goals of this second release was to increase the sample of the participating laboratories in the survey. Whereas the first report included information from 24 laboratories, 45 new contributions have been obtained for this release. This new report includes also the information obtained from the 24 former participants, since none of them objected in using their data for the 2016 report version. Therefore, in total the sample of this report results in 69 smart grid laboratories.

Furthermore, in an attempt to obtain more information about the smart grid topics that are under investigation, a thorough internet search was carried out on further 31 laboratories, thus resulting in an extended sample of 100 laboratories.

This report complements the contribution of the JRC to the evaluation of ongoing Smart Grid developments. Other works have been carried out towards this direction, like the Smart Grid Projects Outlook (since 2011), where the European smart grid projects are presented and described, the inventory of Distribution System Operators in Europe, the assessment framework for the identification of Smart Grid Projects of Common Interest (PCI), and the Cost Benefit Analysis of Smart Grid Projects.

Some general conclusions deducted from our survey are summarized as follows:

  • The main customers of the smart grid labs are utilities, the academia and industrial companies.
  • The initial budget for setting up the lab is, on average, around 2 M€, but for large institutions it reaches up to 30 M€. On average, the estimated total annual running cost amounts to a median value of 135,000 €.
  • IEC 61850 is the mostly used standard (in 7 out of the 13 categories) for: Distribution Automation, Grid Management, Storage, Generation & DER, Electromobility (for communication purposes), ICT and AMI activities. For the other categories, more specific standards are adopted.
  • Our survey sample has shown that among the 13 categories identified, those that attract mostly the scientific interest are: Generation & DER, Demand Response, Grid Management and Storage. This comes in accordance with the conclusions drawn from the extended sample of 100 laboratories, where the top categories are proved to be again Generation & DER, Grid Management and Storage.
  • A minimum of 40% of the total number of laboratories (100) use a real-time simulator. •
  • At least 47% of the laboratories perform research on microgrids.

JRC has the objectives of making the smart grid lab inventory a periodic exercise.

Benefits for participating organisations are numerous, and will become more significant as the inventory grows:

  • The report will contribute to analysing the trends in the smart grid field, thus constituting a valuable tool for identifying the technological gaps and guiding future funding programs.
  • The online website is expected to increase visibility for the participants. It will become a tool to track smart grid activities carried out in the laboratories thus fostering collaborations between smart grid stakeholders and the participants.

With the increase of the survey participants the value of the results will increase. This will be the basis for the key message to all willing to contribute to the inventory: the usefulness of the collective effort facilitated by the JRC highly depends upon the quality of the information provided by the participants.




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