Managemt summary of the project „Web2Energy“

1. Summary

The enhancement of distribution networks into Smart Grids is a task of the society to ensure the achievement of the European “20-20-20 in 2020” targets for higher energy efficiency, sustainability and lower ecological impact.

Smart Distribution is based on the three pillars as presented in Figure 1:

  • Distribution system automation for a reliable grid integration of volatile energy sources,
  • Distributed Energy Management by coordination of generation, storage and load control,
  • Involvement of the consumers into the market for electricity by dynamic tariffs.

Figure 1: The 3 pillars of Smart Distribution, functions and requested data exchange

The Web2Energy (W2E) project introduced all three pillars of smart distribution in the operational practice of the 20/0.4 kV network of the HSE AG around Darmstadt with:

  • Remote supervision of 9  x 20/0.4 kV  transformer terminals in a selected network part,
  • Aggregation of 5 cogeneration of heat and power (CHP) plants, 12 storage batteries, 12 photovoltaic plants, 3 wind parks, 2 hydro power plants, 3 large controllable loads
  • Involvement of 200 household consumers into a 1 year Demand Side Response study.
    as shown in Figure 2.

All three pillars request an intensive information exchange between the involved users and assets of the distribution network which is not common today. The new information and communication technologies (ICT) required for this information exchange were designed, developed, approved, installed and integrated into a new control and supervision system. The system design is based on the application of the advanced and prospective standards IEC 61850 for communication and IEC 61968/70 for data management based on the Common Information Model (CIM). This approach corresponds with the recommendations of the European Smart Grid Strategic Deployment Document ( and is first time applied for distribution network operations.

Figure 2: The supply area and the components oft he Web2Energy system

Advanced solutions have been developed and introduced for this new field of applications:

  • Architecture design, security and performance analysis of the complete ICT system,
  • Mapping of IEC 61850 layers 3-7 to various physical and link layers (1,2),
  • Development of suitable remote terminal units (RTU) “speaking” IEC 61850,
  • System integration of the available meters applying other communication protocols,
  • Design, development, approval and operation of the control centre for the 3 pillars,
  • Data base systems applying IEC 61968/70 CIM (common information model) for the control centre with converter for IEC 61850 data models into the CIM format and reverse,
  • Strategies for virtual power plants (VPP) with generators, storage and controlled loads,
  • Concept for a dynamic pricing and Internet presentation for consumer market participation,
  • Adaptation and extension of the IEC 61850 and IEC 61968/70 data models to the needs of distribution systems followed by the consideration of the new models in the relevant IEC working groups to enhance the standards accordingly.


The integration and the trial operation of the new system allowed conclusions about the economic benefits. Smart Grids require an enormous investment and in this context the question arises: “Do Smart Grids pay back?” Considering the current market design and regulatory rules the answer on this question is definitely “NO”! Consequently, a study of the current barriers for Smart Grids and the development of prospective markets conditions with the description of business models are performed. It is demonstrated that under the assumed market conditions the 3 pillars can achieve significant economic benefits for all stakeholders.

Education programs including the training in a new Smart Grid laboratory were developed on the base of the project results. They are currently introduced at the Universities of Magdeburg (D), Irkutsk (RS) and the High School of Salzburg (A). Seminars for qualification of engineers are provided within VDE and in-house seminars are requested by ICT vendors.

95 scientific papers were published during the project run-time in Austria, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Russia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, the UK and the USA. Contributions for television (5) and radio (3) programs were broadcasted to the public. Newspapers published about 200 reports regarding the project. The W2E project organized the international symposium “Distribution systems of the future" in Darmstadt in 2011 for exchange of experience.

2. Description of project context and objectives The project was split into three milestones:

  • Milestone 1: Concepts and strategies
  • Milestone 2: Design, implementations and module tests
  • Milestone 3: System integration, exploitation and benefit evaluation

2.1 Milestone 1 - Concepts and strategies
The main objective for the 1st milestone consisted of the participant selection, the system design and engineering concepts to provide the 3 pillars of smart distribution functionality inside the electricity supply area of the HSE AG in accordance with the Annex 1 of the grant agreement (Work package 1 – data, clients, and strategies). As the result of the milestone all technical details, interfaces, functions and strategies were clearly defined. The users of smart distribution were informed and they agreed in a written form to participate in the project. The tasks of the partners, their work schedules and the mutual interrelations were fixed.

2.1.1. Self-healing network
Nine transformer terminals 20/0.4 kV of the open 20-kV-loop “Ober-Roden” were selected to implement remote control and network automation functions in the sense of “self-healing”. The content of data to be exchanged between the terminals and the control centre was agreed with the distribution network operator. The enhancement efforts of the switch devices and sensors of the terminals were evaluated to gain the remote controllability including also the selection of the communication links.

2.1.2 Aggregation of a virtual power plant (VPP)
Power producers with different ownership feed into the 20-kV network of HSE. Mutual agreements between the distribution network operator and the plant owners were considered and concluded to agree the installation of remote control and supervision facilities and to execute control functions. The engineering pre-requisites regarding the operational data are prepared in this milestone.
The operational integration of storage batteries into a VPP was a significant objective of the project. A tender procedure for purchase of batteries was executed. The locations of the batteries were selected and the remote control facilities were engineered based on the operational data which were defined in advance.
The integration of Demand Side Management (DSM): Significant consumers with controllable loads were convinced for participation in the VPP. The distribution network operator (DNO) selected such consumers and negotiated the conditions of their participation in the DSM. The control and supervision facilities were selected and engineered.
The operation strategies of the VPP aggregating the power producers, controllable loads and storage batteries were developed based on the recruitment results.

2.1.3. Market integration of households – Demand Side Response
The household consumers of closed territories were involved into the project to investigate the socio-economic impact of dynamic tariffs for electric energy. For this, simple and efficient methods were developed to make the demand, the costs and the benefits of saving or/and shifting of electricity visible. The declarations of willingness of the consumers for analysing their consumption data in a socio-economic study were gained within a complicated recruitment process with hundreds of house visits and detailed discussions.

2.1.4. ICT architecture
The ICT system was specified in a client–server architecture. The client is embedded in the control centre. The servers perform the data acquisition at the process side (transformer terminals, generators, storage, DSM loads, DSR - consumers). The prospective standards IEC 61850 (communication) and IEC 61968/70 (common information models - CIM) were analysed and adapted for the application in distribution networks.

2.1.5. Control centre (CC) specification
The specification of the W2E control centre was worked out. That includes the structure of the CIM based data management, the conversion of communicated data to CIM (and reverse), the Human Machine Interface (HMI) with the detailed description of the available monitoring screens, symbols, presentations of functions, reports, measurements and the control procedures.

2.1.6. Communication engineering
The communication engineering was prepared by conceptional approaches to build data models in accordance with IEC 61850.

2.2. Milestone 2 – Design, implementation and module test
The main objective for the 2nd milestone was based on the findings of the 1st milestone. It consists of the design and development of the before specified advanced solutions, their tests, approvals and releases. These solutions are:

  • The adaptation of the physical and link layers of IEC 61850 to the available communication infrastructure.
  • The integration of commercial Smart Meters into an IEC 61850 communication network.
  • The development of a remote terminal unit “W2E-RTU” which covers the remote control and monitoring needs of the VPP participants and distribution network terminals.
  • The application of the IEC 61850 interface of the Communication box of the batteries.
  • Defining the extensions to the standards IEC 61850 to serve the tasks in distribution networks and the related report to IEC TC 57.
  • Defining the information concepts for the various stakeholders of the Smart Distribution.
  • Development of the ICT architecture design based on standards and pre-standardization protocols and models presented in a Design Guide.
  • Design and development of the CIM data base according to IEC 61968/70 for the complete data management inside the W2E Control Centre covering all 3 pillars and including new definitions of data classes describing new equipment additionally requested for the Smart distribution network operations like for example storage batteries.
  • The conversion between the data formats IEC 61850 for communication and CIM for data management.
  • The technical design and the software development of the Human Machine Interface (HMI) for Smart Metering and for network automation.
  • The technical design and the software development of the HMI for the VPP.
  • The documentation to prepare the installations of meters, RTUs, process interfaces, the system integration and the trial operations to be performed within milestone 3. The documentation includes the following schedules, plans and programs:
    • implementation schedule,
    • test plan for approving the RTUs and Meters (meter com to IEC),
    • system integration test program,
    • Program of the trial operation.

2.3. Milestone 3 – System integration, exploitation and benefit evaluation
The main objectives of the 3rd milestone were based on the foundations developed during the first two periods and could be summarized as follows:

Implementation of the developed devices and solutions in accordance with Figure 3 below, their system integration and trial operation including the integration tests.

2.3. Milestone 3 – System integration, exploitation and benefit evaluation The main objectives of the 3rd milestone were based on the foundations developed during the first two periods and could be summarized as follows:

1. Implementation of the developed devices and solutions in accordance with Figure 3 below, their system integration and trial operation including the integration tests.

Figure 3: Overview of the system architecture

2. Demonstration of the technical benefits in the field, in particular by proving that such an open and standardized ICT communication infrastructure provides and fulfils all requirements regarding the three pillars of smart distribution networks: customer market integration, aggregation of power producers and controllable loads, and self-healing networks.

3. Making this knowledge broadly available

4. Propagation of the project results in international technical journals, on international conferences, in newspapers, in television and radio broadcasts.

5. Public demonstration and approval event

6. Bringing the W2E field experiences, via the already existing consortium member channels, into the IEC standardization body processes and enabling the qualification of the standards

7. Introduction of education programs including laboratories in universities, high schools and the academy for professional qualification of the Power Engineering Society

8. Development of the technical and regulatory pre-requisites for further improvements of technical, environmental, market and societal aspects in accordance with the European strategy

9. Applying the developed vision of the prospective market design to evaluate economic benefits and win-win models in accordance with the broader use of the new solutions.

Furthermore, the W2E objective was able to motivate all related stakeholders – distribution network operators, traders and service companies, power producers, virtual power plant operators, balance responsible parties, ICT providers, vendors of intelligent electronic devices and last but not least the consumers of electricity – to apply similar solutions. This has to be done by a broad international dissemination program and the participation in external working groups (e.g. IEC) and task forces (e.g. VDE/ETG – German Power Engineering Society).

However, a significant change of the regulatory rules and the market design is mandatory that “Smart Grids” may pay-back. The establishment of Smart Grids requires Smart Markets.

The project team has considered the current barriers for Smart Grids and developed the core market rules for an economic advantageous establishment of Smart Grids in the distribution level and has demonstrated how these benefits may be created by all stakeholders based on the recommended rules:

  • The DNOs have to be motivated for the needed investments e.g. by bonus systems.
  • The DNOs may apply market instruments to impact on the network loading.
  • The distributed generation has to become controllable and participate on the schedule management.
  • Renewable energy producers have to become active market participants. Based on the energy price development for various energy sources, the priority of the renewables will be assured by the merit order principle.
  • Virtual power plants provide coordination and balancing services and create additional profit for their aggregated power producers, storage plants and controllable loads.
  • The spread of energy prices and the network loading conditions have to be reflected in the tariffs. The consumer should become market players and should be motivated to save and shift their energy demand.
  • The complexity of the power system operations should be reduced by the recommended cellular management of the supply processes. 
  • A new service infrastructure based on ICT technologies has to be established for a successful implementation of the recommended rules into the practice.
  • The project team has developed business models for the new service providers and network users demonstrating how all stakeholders may gain economic benefits.

The technical pre-requisites of the proposed smart market design were developed and introduced in the operational practice of a DNO within the project Web2Energy.

The beneficiaries HSE, NTB, EUS and OvGU took over the responsibility to disseminate the related recommendations to the policy makers by press conferences, TV and radio translations. Furthermore, NTB leads the task force “Active Electric Power Networks” of the German Power Engineering Society to support these targets. The above mentioned beneficiaries are members of the task force and ready to bring the project findings into the European context.


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