The electrical power system is commonly divided up into a transmission (or central) grid, and a distribution grid. The transmission grid is that part of the total grid system that carries high-voltage electricity across large areas. The traditional role of the distribution grid has been to distribute this power to consumers at lower voltages.
The transmission grid is often already described as "smart" because, among other things, it is operated with the extensive use of continuous monitoring and control mechanisms. In contrast, there is little or no monitoring of load or power flow in the low voltage part of the system, and grid operators have only limited opportunity to adapt the grid to prevailing conditions in real time. Consequently, the transition to so-called "Smart Grids" is much more demanding for the distribution grid system. Nevertheless, it is here that the changes are taking place and where the greater part of the infrastructure exists.
SINTEF's research projects contribute towards making the transition to tomorrow's distribution system as smooth and fit for purpose as possible, both from an environmental and socio-economic perspective. Together with grid operators, industry, public sector organisations, consumers and other business partners, we carry out research and develop systems with particular focus on the distribution system:
- voltage quality
- distributed production
- flexible energy systems
- utilisation of batteries and other storage media (including electric vehicles)
- 'smart' operation of the distribution grid
- market solutions
- Control Centres of the Future
- EcoGrid EU
- new clients
- existing clients
- funding organisations