Successful launch and first public demonstration for the ENET-RTLab

On the 11th of April, the Smart Grid Interoperability Laboratory (SGILab) of the JRC has participated to the launch of the ENET-RTLab, the new interconnected laboratory for Geographically-Distributed Real Time Digital Simulations (GD-RTDS), promoted by the EnSiEL consortium. The laboratory aims at fostering the collaboration and the pooling of expertise and resources between different research institutions, with the final objective of developing and testing new technologies for the energy transition. In particular, the utilization of GD-RTDS setups will allow to share the hardware and software resources of multiple research institutions, with a more efficient utilization of the available computational power and opening up the possibility by other research partners to access and utilize costly and powerful equipment. Together with the JRC, this first public demonstration of the ENET-RTLab involved also the Politecnico di Torino, which coordinated the event, the Politecnico di Bari, the University of Genova and the University of Naples “Federico II”. 

A real-time interconnection between the laboratory infrastructures of the participating institutions was developed to perform Software-In-the-Loop (SIL) and Power-Hardware-In-the-Loop (PHIL) simulations of a large-scale electrical system with high penetration of renewable generation and decentralized smart control actions. Separate sections of this power system were simulated in a real-time framework by the different laboratories, which exchanged the relevant simulation signals over an ad-hoc peer-to-peer internet connection, utilizing the VILLAs open-source software platform, developed by the RWTH Aachen University, for data synchronization and conversion. The simulative setup included the PHIL simulation of a load-shedding mechanism in the laboratory of the University of Bari and the SIL simulation of a wind turbine with inertial controller at the University of Genoa, while the SGILab of the JRC simulated the dynamic behaviour of a distribution network equipped with a load curtailment mechanism. 


The coordinated simulation of the energy system was conducted in real-time during the presentation event (Figure 1), assessing the dynamic response of the considered network in response to a frequency event and demonstrating the capability by GD-RTDS setups to accurately represent the behaviour of complex energy systems. In addition to the simulative demonstration, the event also saw the participation of distinguished speakers from the involved institutions, which highlighted the fundamental importance that the GD-RTDS framework and in general a closer collaboration between research centres can have in tackling the timely challenges posed by the energy transition. The launch event and demonstration of the ENET-RTLab represents only the first step in a long and articulated collaboration between the participating partners, with the objective of establishing GD-RTDS as a fundamental tool for power system research at an Italian and European level.
Additional info on the event can be found on the Politecnico di Torino online magazine, at this link.