Service Platform Distribution Grid for Integrated Load Management

Project state
Schematic of the service platform © ENSO NETZ GmbH

The rapidly growing input of electricity from renewable sources into the electricity grid poses huge challenges for energy supply throughout Germany. In addition to the cur-rently much discussed but still too expensive storage technologies, the flexible adaptation of the load-side electricity consumption to the fluctuating production represents a promising alternative to conventional grid expansion. This provides the starting point for the "Service Platform Distribution Grid for Integrated Load Management (SERVING)" research project.

Algorithms for optimal network utilisation

As part of the project, a service platform is being developed to ensure optimal utilisation of the energy network while ensuring the same high level of security. This is being achieved by establishing a communication interface between energy suppliers, energy consumers and network operators. For this purpose, algorithms are being developed within the project that recognise the current state of the energy distribution grid and, based on this state identification, efficiently control the energy between suppliers, consumers and renewable energy systems.

The interplay between the market and grid through actively involving the distribution grid for controlling flexible loads increases the load management potential, reduces grid losses and increases the usable network capacity as well as the potential for integrating energy from renewable energy systems. The project is mainly concerned with utilising the decentralised potential flexibility offered by heat storage systems combined with the energy efficient management of water supply systems. Today, heat storage systems are usually charged at fixed times – irrespective of the situation in the electricity grid and the current electricity price on the market. The goal of the project is to charge the storage heaters when there is a large supply of electrical energy and thus at favourable prices, without causing overloads in the power grid. The algorithms being developed are intended to be open for different concepts, which means that the integration of electric vehicles is also possible in the future.

The innovative approach provided by state estimation in the distribution grid and load allocation means that neither suppliers nor consumers are affected. The service platform distribution grid gives all players greater scope for action, since restrictions resulting from the distribution grid such as overloading of equipment or voltage maintenance problems can be reduced. The service platform distribution grid is therefore network-, market- and technology-friendly.

The results and benefits provided by SERVING include

  • the adaptation of the consumption and production as a function of the network state, taking into account technological user assumptions,
  • the best possible integration of renewable energy sources and therefore a con-sumption-focused production,
  • the provision of the communication infrastructure for suppliers and end-consumers based on modern information and communication technologies and concepts,
  • standardised interfaces and protocols for a comprehensive and uniform load management,
  • the flexible supply of electricity to suppliers as a prerequisite for innovative products and services, and
  • reduced grid expansion by improving the utilisation of the distribution grid.

From the simulation to the field trial


The project includes application-oriented research as well as extensive demonstration schemes (graphic). In doing so, a step-by-step approach is being pursued so that the algorithms being developed can be analysed and optimised using the results from not just the technology pilot but also the field trial.

The algorithms developed within the project will be tested first of all in a simulation system before being tested in practice in a field trial between 2016 and 2019. Several hundred field trial systems in East Saxony are being equipped with the necessary measuring, control and communication technology for this purpose. The main results for heat storage systems will therefore be achieved and verified during the heating periods (from November to March). For water supply systems, it can be assumed that there is particular potential during the peak consumption periods in the summer months (from May to September).

The project is being coordinated by the Chair of Electrical Power Supply at Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden); project partners are ENSO NETZ, ENSO AG, DREWAG NETZ and the Zittau/Görlitz University of Applied Sciences.

Within the project, the Institute of Electrical Power Systems and High Voltage Engineering at the TU Dresden is developing new methods concerned with state estimation in the distribution grid and with load allocation. Zittau/Görlitz University of Applied Sciences (HSZG) is processing the project from an IT perspective and is developing the IT system behind SERVING. This includes both the software architecture and the design as well as the IT-based implementation of the system. ENSO NETZ is primarily responsible for providing the distribution grid, installing the infrastructure at the field level, decoupling the measured values from existing systems, communicating with the end-devices and the actual operation of the service platform. As the regional energy service provider, ENSO AG supplies approximately 21,000 small-scale customers using storage heaters with electrical energy, thus providing an interface with customers in the context of practical testing. As the operator of the water supply systems, DREWAG NETZ GmbH is providing the energy-related flexibility potential for the water supply systems in the project.

In the current project stage, a sufficient number of customers have already been recruited to take part in the pilot phase, enabling a practical test of the state estimation and load allocation. In addition, a comprehensive system concept has been developed that considers the overall architecture of the SERVING service platform both at the operational and functional as well as at the information- and communication-based levels. Two important milestones have therefore already been achieved. Future work steps are mainly aimed at implementing the algorithms being developed both within the simulation system and in the context of practical testing.

Measurement positions have already been identified for the pilot and field trials, which will be equipped with suitable measuring technology at the end of summer in 2016. The previously developed algorithms for estimating the state can therefore already be tested in practice this year. The initial load allocation results are expected in 2017.

Project duration

08/2015 - 07/2019


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Schegner
Project coordinator
Professur für Elektroenergieversorgung
Fakultät Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik
Technische Universität Dresden
+49 351 463-34374

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