Open communications platform for distribution network operators

Project state
Blick in das Smart Grid Labor an der Hochschule Ulm. Schaltschränke und Regeleinrichtungen sind an der Wand montiert.
Trial installation for grid inverters in the SmartGrid laboratory at Ulm University of Applied Sciences. | Image: Hochschule Ulm, IEA

Given the current transformation of the grid into a smart grid, there is the risk of creating an unsustainable and economically disadvantageous scenario. The acatech study “Future Energy Grid” emphatically points to this fact (“20th century”, “Complexity trap”) - amongst others, with regard to developing the electrical infrastructure, and standardisation.  ESOSEG is a building block that can help avoid such an undesirable development. With a cost- and benefit-optimised design of grid planning and expansion, as well as a distribution amongst many individual distribution network operators (DNOs), a sustainable and economic grid scenario on the distribution grid level in terms of a migration towards a smart grid can be achieved.
Therefore, the research project ESOSEG aims to build an open platform for the communication of the information systems of the DNOs. ESOSEG relies on the open standards IEC 61970 and IEC 61968 to permit energy supply companies to (cost-)efficiently network their heterogeneous software landscapes and to allow for synergies between the different programs.

Real grid representation determines critical grid states

ESOSEG aims to provide a unified software platform that can be used by as many distribution grid operators as possible to access databases stored in their various systems. The data may originate from geographic information systems, grid management systems and master data management, for example. It will be possible to study the properties and system behaviour of components and equipment in all areas of the distribution grid in order to allow more than merely selective analyses. The data assimilation and remote control capability takes into account the requirements set forth by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and relies on international, open standards such as CIM, IEC 61850 or the open source approach in order to unify the handling of heterogeneous measurement and state data.

The grid analysis considers the already existing and upcoming infrastructures in the electricity distribution grids. The aim is to determine critical grid states using real grids and to reproduce them via system modelling to then provide approaches for solutions. It should be emphasised that this is done on the basis of non-synthetic real grid topologies and predictive methods taken from current research. This way, future grid development and expansion potentials can be calculated reliably. The focus is on questions relating to the distribution network, for example of equipment utilisation capacity, voltage stability and the frequency of critical or impermissible grid states due to grid diversity taking into account decentralised electricity generation systems.

Combining the grid analysis with real data and forecasts

Überblick der Software-Architektur der ESOSEG-Plattform
Software architecture of the ESOSEG platform. | Image: ESOSEG Forschungsgruppe

In grid planning, the results of the grid analysis are used to optimise grid expansion and operating strategies. The approach targets the consideration and simulation of many operating resources in the distribution area and not the individual, representative examination of points. In this framework, various tools can be applied to grid simulation, optimisation and state and expansion forecasts. By developing a scenario generator, grid analyses can be carried out not only for current but also for future scenarios, and actual measured data can be combined with forecast data.

The common platform allows for the consistent transfer of grid planning approaches into operation; examples include remote programming of generators and consumers, derived state determination based on remote sensing technologies or the flexible integration of consumers through load management and load shifting while taking the needs of the distribution grid operators into account. Moreover, interfaces between transmission system operators, distribution grid operators and other specialist trades and energy infrastructures are taken into account by using open standards to explore new and sustainable infrastructure solutions.

Future results

The goal here is to process measurement and simulation values equally and without discrimination. CIM is to be used as a common data model for data exchange. By involving more grid operators in the project phases, it will be ensured that the framework is suitable for as many applications under different circumstances as possible.

Grafische Aufbereitung der Aufgaben eines jeden Verbundpartners.
Overview of the tasks of the project partners in ESOSEG | Image: ESOSEG Forschungsverbund

The result of ESOSEG is a flexible and modular extensible platform for distribution grid operators that connects the various IT systems of the DNO. The platform therefore offers the possibility to analyse existing grid structures, identify potential vulnerabilities and to review expansion options as to their profitability. Under the auspices of TUM, the first results of the project are a successful modelling of the DNO domain, the definition of interfaces in the domain model, and the research of exploration-oriented modelling options to ensure a flexible utilisation of the framework for different purposes. The company SEKAS will then map these results onto the open standards IEC 61970 and IEC 61968 (CIM). This requires a transfer of the domain model onto a technical platform that meets the requirements of the CIM standard and the security requirements of the Federal Office for Information Security. The result of this step, the experimental framework, will be integrated into the SmartGrid laboratory at Ulm University of Applied Sciences to be tested thoroughly. This milestone is supposed to be achieved by Q1 2017, followed by the experimental integration into the infrastructure of the grid operators involved in the project. In order to draw upon already acquired expertise and to set up a standards-compliant platform, an existing middleware of the company Hessware GmbH will be adapted accordingly.

Project duration

10/2015 – 09/2018


Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Manfred Broy
Project co-ordinator
Technische Universität München - Fakultät für Informatik
Boltzmannstr. 3
85748 Garching bei München
+49 89 289-17309
+49 89 289-17307


Homepage of the research project ESOSEG.

Basic information

How is our power grid structured? What sort of networks are there? What do security and quality of supply mean?


Virtual power plants, active distribution grids, smart meters and adaptive protection systems – here you can find information about the most important aspects of smart grids.


The energy generated in a grid must always be equal to the energy consumed. The ancillary services are tasked with ensuring this.