The objective of WP2 is to develop and test a set of new concepts and solutions that optimally utilise new emerging control and monitoring technologies capable of exploiting extensive, real time monitoring to/from all assets and network customers and flexible resources. The expected impact is a more flexible operation of the distribution grid, contributing to cost reductions, enhanced energy efficiency and improved system reliability and security, as well as standardised solutions.

  • Application of new sensors and controllers for distribution system management
  • Architecture for future monitoring and control
  • Use cases for future (2030-2040) smart distribution grid operation
  • Use Case for Communication interoperability, ICT security and privacy (CIIP)
  • Smart distribution system control centres

Results 2020

We develop and test a set of new concepts and solutions that optimally utilise new emerging control and monitoring technologies, which are capable of exploiting extensive, real time monitoring to/from all assets and network customers and flexible resources.

We expect our work to result in a more flexible operation of the distribution grid, contributing to cost reductions, enhanced energy efficiency, improved system reliability and security, as well as standardised solutions.

As more distributed generation is integrated into the distribution grid, DSOs and TSOs must adapt new ICT solutions to coordinate activation of resources in the grid (like solar and wind power) for reactive power. Some of the technology to do this is needed, but it has to be tested further. We have started to set up a case study in the lab where we can test scenarios that are too difficult to test in regular pilot projects due to system security.

More integration of ICT has a possible downside though – it opens the door to cyber-attacks on the grid. We have therefore spent time in 2020 specifying lab tests where we will test the impact of cyberattacks. More specifically, attacks on the DSO/TSO coordination of voltage regulation.

Use case: Voltage regulation TSODSO - joint management of reactive power

In the future, we expect a reduced contribution of reactive power from generators in large hydro power plants. At the same time, there is increasing integration of distributed production in the distribution network (for example solar and wind power). The system operator therefore has a growing interest in using resources for reactive power located in the distribution network itself.

The technology needed in the operations centre at both the TSO and the grid company (DSO) to integrate advanced functionality such as Volt/Var control is mature. This makes it possible for us to study a use case where TSO and DSO coordinate activation of resources for reactive power in more detail. This involves coordination and exchange of information between operations centres at the TSO and the DSO.

Ongoing research activities include lab implementation of both ICT and power systems in the use case aim to:

  1. Test the potential (quantifi cation with specifi c KPIs) for this use case
  2. Evaluate the benefi ts of diff erent control architectures for voltage regulation
  3. Evaluate vulnerabilities related to ICT systems
  4. Identify and prevent cyber-attacks

Thus far we have tested details for the lab work and the test network has been chosen. Relevant project partners and related pilot activities have also given us feedback. A full implementation of the use case in the lab is in progress. Going forward, the lab implementation can be used for research activities that cover both power system and ICT issues.

Some current topics are:

  • Integration of functions in the distribution network's operations centre, such as AMS infrastructures and state estimation, which in turn supports Volt/Var optimisation.
  • A study of which services flexible resources can contribute to.

With the lab implementation, we aim to represent the actual system, including communication protocols and to some extent connection to physical devices (for example transformers or boosters). This way, it is possible to run different scenarios in the lab which can be difficult to test in pilot due to system security.

Cyber security in use case concerning voltage regulation

Coordination between TSO and DSO for voltage regulation requires more digital interconnection and extensive use of sensors/IoT. The backside of this digitization is an increased cyber security risk. We are therefore studying the possible consequences of attacks on the coordination of voltage regulation, and we look at the possible impact of some measures that can be used to reduce the risk.

Earlier in CINELDI, a memorandum was drawn up listing a number of misuse scenarios related to the network of the future. The following are particularly relevant for this use case:

  • False measurement data: An attacker changes the measurement data to trigger an unwanted action in the system, or to hide another attack. For example, this can be done by having malicious software installed on sensors, or by modifying the data packets that are communicated. The attacker requires enough knowledge about the system to know how to change the measurement data to achieve the desired effect.
  • Unauthorised modification of control signals: An attacker changes control signals related to (for example) flexible resources so that unwanted things occur.
  • Prevention of control signals reaching their destination: An attacker who stops control signals will make it difficult to digitally control the system.

We are now in the process of specifying lab tests for the purpose of studying the impact of such attacks. We are also in the process of carrying out an analysis of cyber threats (threat modelling), which will provide a more thorough overview of the different ways in which cyber-attacks can take place in this use case.

There are various ways to deal with risks associated with attacks on measurement data and control signals. We have identified two strategies we wish to examine:

  • 5G as an enabler for secure IoT in the smart grid, particularly with regard to authentication
  • An integrity monitoring solution that can be used in real-time communication (which requires extremely low latency)

The activity also help us build a good level of competence in joint lab work that covers both Cyber security and power issues, which is important due to the increasing integration of power and ICT. It is important to better understand the issue of cybersecurity related to measurement data because we expect an increasing degree of autonomy and self-healing. Computer systems themselves will then make decisions based on measurement data without people being directly involved in the assessments.

Results 2019

Our objective is to develop and test a set of new concepts and solutions that optimally utilise new emerging control and monitoring technologies capable of exploiting extensive, real time monitoring to/from all assets and network customers and flexible resources.

We expect our work to result in a more flexible operation of the distribution grid, contributing to cost reductions, enhanced energy efficiency, improved system reliability and security, as well as standardised solutions.

Emerging concepts for grid operation

The distribution grid operation is today mainly passive or reactive, meaning that it's not necessary to take much action in the normal operation of the grid. Operations are only performed as a response to some external event or request, such as faults or line disconnections due to maintenance work. It is not yet clear how an active form of distribution grid operation with continuous monitoring and optimized control actions will develop. Its development is increasingly intertwined with the development of the information and communication technology (ICT)-infrastructure.

A set of new concepts in smart grid operation was developed in 2019. An example is a novel concept that utilizes easy-to-connect easy-to-move batteries in the distribution grid, to temporarily mitigate bottlenecks or voltage quality issues. Having this option available could bring value by mitigating the risk associated with grid investment decisions. By reducing the consequences of underinvestment, less safety margin is required in grid investment decisions, and that could positively affect both the timing and size of the investment needed.

Including ICT in the evaluation and validation of emerging smart grid operations

Smart grid is a system of systems, where the electrical system and the communication and control systems are intertwined. Evaluation and validation of such complex systems require new methods. In CINELDI we are exploring different approaches. One is a joint modelling of the ICT and electrical systems and the other is the testing in a real-time hardware-in-the-loop approach.

The joint model can be used to quantify the reliability of smart grid operations and compare different architectures, such as centralized vs decentralized control. This comparison will allow for more informed investment decisions from the utilities, that will in turn contribute to a more reliable and efficient grid development. The system testing in real-time hardware-in-the-loop, on the other hand, is suitable for assessing the usability and performance of specific equipment, algorithms or communication links. This assessment will give valuable feedback to technology providers and reduce the risk of the utilities when implementing new technology in their operations.

Results 2018

Modelling consequences on security of supply by extensive use of ieds

When introducing Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs, with microprocessors and communication interfaces) we get new possibilities for operation support ( censoring, remote control, self-healing), but also a set of new fault cases and failure modes that need to be carefully investigated. The work on a theoretical model (analytical and/or simulation) for a system of such IEDs is started and will be continued in 2019. The goal is to be able to quantify the effect on security of electricity supply of different constellations of sensors and controllers, and distributed vs centralised control and self-healing solutions.

Evaluating local disaster recovery strategies

Different options for temporal replacement/relocation of communication equipment are investigated, to maintain a minimum of communication service after a disaster, for example by temporarily replacing damaged nodes by emergency nodes. Communication services are of critical importance in situations where a lot of coordination needs to be done, e.g., restore power supply. A framework is proposed to evaluate different node replacement strategies, based on a large set of representative disasters.

Data gathering and -assembling from several smart meter han ports

The objective of the master thesis work was to implement an embedded system enabling the real- time data gathering and -assembling from the HAN (home area network) ports of distributed smart meters. The system consists of a tiny embedded system for reading the output of the HAN port and interpreting the data, a 4G connection to a cloud service for data transfer using existing tele- communication infrastructure, and a simple graphical user interface for displaying the voltage as a function of location along the line.

Use cases for smart grid operation

Based on the previously defined topics (in 2017) several Use Cases have been developed in close collaboration with CINELDI partners, presented in a webinar " Introduction to Use Case Methodology", and a joint workshop on the use and misuse cases. One of the use cases "State of the art of applying machine learning on Smart Grid data" about application of machine learning for outage management, has been elaborated and accepted for presentation at the CIRED 2019 conference.

Misuse cases

Misuse cases for communication interoperability, ICT security and privacy (CIIP) were developed, based on a review of existing CIIP use cases, input from the other use cases, and from a workshop with participating experts where the focus was on smart distribution grids and manipulation of communication networks. Two master students completed their thesis on security of smart meters and IoT devices for the electricity grid.

A new concept for protection in distribution systems

The experimental testing of the Hafslund new protection concept, started in 2017, has been extended to cover a broad range and variance of fault situations. This work continues in 2019 to provide an extensive test coverage with laboratory testing, simulations in MATLAB/Simulink, hardware-in-the-loop testing, and finally the goal is to do real-life implementation in a pre-determined part of Hafslund's distribution grid where the physical infrastructure is already in place.

Results 2017

Data gathering and -assembling from several smart meter HAN ports
A student master thesis work is in progress, with the title "Data gathering and - assembling from several smart meter HAN ports." This system will make an efficient system for collecting data from the distributed smart metertxts, transfer them to a cloud service and do a preliminary analysis of the assembled data from the different smart meters.

Survey of sensors
As part of the state of art study of sensors currently in use in today's distribution grid, a survey was developed and circulated to selected partners in CINELDI. The feedback from the survey will be important input to Romina Muka (PhD, starts January 2018) and her research in optimal deployment of sensors and controllers for the operation of the next generation distribution grid (with new intelligent electrical devices).

Co-simulations of power grid and communication network and services
The state of the art of co-simulations of power grid and communication network and services are investigated, and several proposed solutions and open questions are identified. The synchronization between the domain specific simulators, how to make the simulators be integrated in real time is one of the main challenges. The work is conducted by Fredrik Haugli (PhD from September) as part of his research plan to establish a modelling framework (potentially using simulation) to investigate the trade-off between centralised and distributed operation of the distribution grid.

Use cases for the future distribution grid
The work on Use Cases for the future distribution grid started with that the topic of interest was defined and justified by the partners (results from a survey and workshop 2018-06-22). Then, almost 240 Use Cases were reviewed by an expert group and narrowed down to 14 Use Cases which have been proposed for further development.
The work in the Expert Group has been initiated that will continue working of 3-4 selected use cases in 2018. It is on the agenda for a workshop planned for May 2018.

WP2 experiment in the Norwegian Smart Grid Laboratory
WP2 experiment in the Norwegian Smart Grid Laboratory

Security of smart meters and IoT devices for the electricity grid
The main results from this activity is from the work of three master students on security of smart meters and IoT devices for the electricity grid. The master students are doing research on how the smart meter HAN port may be exploited by an attacker, and they are analysing the risks of adding IoT devices that interact with the smart grid within the ISO/IEC 27005 risk management framework.

A new concept for protection has been tested out in the Smart Grid Laboratory
CINELDI's first implementation of a use case in the laboratory: Hafslund Nett has proposed a new method for fault localization of short circuits in mesh-connected distribution networks.

The implementation includes several preparing actions prior to actual testing of the novel concept in a controlled environment at the Smart Grid Laboratory (NTNU Campus). Three visiting representatives from R&D department at Hafslund Nett attended a one-day lab session, taking active part of the initial physical experiments in lab. Part of the concept was confirmed, but the actual calculation of fault location requires further in-depth research to account for non-ideal conditions, e.g. unbalanced network impedance.

Later, much of the work has focused on acquiring a more detailed and accurate characterization of the distribution grid model. Moreover, these data have been used to parametrize a simulation model, enabling parallel workflow of simulation and physical testing on lab. If proven as a viable concept, the use case will be considered to become a pilot project in CINELDI. The present work will be presented in two documents, a technical report related to the technical assessment and documentation of the distribution grid model. The second document will describe in-depth the Hafslund use case, along with generated research results and further recommendations.


Henning Taxt

WP2 Lead
+ 47 977 53 048
Henning Taxt
WP2 Lead