SmartNet: a new Horizon2020 project studying TSO-DSO interaction to acquire ancillary services from distribution networks

The project SmartNet aims at comparing different architectures for optimized interaction between TSOs and DSOs in managing the purchase of ancillary services (reserve and balancing, voltage regulation, congestion management) from subjects located in the distribution segment. An ad hoc simulation platform is built up over three layers (physical network, market and ICT) in order to simulate three national cases (Italy, Denmark, Spain); this simulation platform is then implemented in a full replica lab, where the performance of real controller devices is tested. Three physical pilots are also developed to demonstrate modalities for exchanging monitoring signals between transmission and distribution networks and flexibility services that can be offered by entities connected to distribution by exploiting thermal inertia of indoor swimming pools and distributed storage facilities of radio-base stations used for telecommunication.

Presently, a steadily increasing amount of Renewable Energy Sources is being connected to distribution networks. In the future, distributed generation could be managed together with local storage for providing local compensation and services to the system. By the same token, demand-side management could help smoothening the daily load curve profiles, thus reducing the need for reserve procurement. A delicate point is the interface between transmission and distribution, which has to be managed in a coordinated manner between TSOs and DSOs in order to achieve an overall efficiency target. DSOs on one side have to retrieve resources for local services (e.g. voltage supportcongestion management), on the other side could function as a collector of services for the whole system, to be then managed in coordination with the adjoining TSO. A strict real-time coordination is necessary between the different subjects in charge to provide ancillary services, and in particular the ones connected to secondary and tertiary regulation.

The three-years long project SmartNet aims at comparing possible architectures for optimized interaction between TSOs and DSOs: exchange of information for monitoring and for acquisition of ancillary services (reserve and balancingvoltage regulationcongestion management), both for local needs and for the system.

Different reference models on the interaction between TSO and DSO are compared on the basis of three national cases (Denmark, Italy, Spain) in order to analyse impact on the dispatching, markets set-up and sequencing, signals exchanged between TSO and DSO, ICT requirements and regulatory implications.

Three physical pilots are also developed to demonstrate modalities for exchanging monitoring signals between transmission and distribution networks and flexibility services that can be offered by entities connected to distribution by exploiting thermal inertia of indoor swimming pools and distributed storage facilities of radio-base stations used for telecommunication.

The consortium, under technical and administrative management by RSE, is formed by a well equilibrated mix of 22 partners from 9 European Countries. Among the industrial partners:  TSO (Energinet.dk, TERNA), DSO, ENDESA, Nyfors, SELNET), manufacturers (SELTA, SIEMENS), telecommunication companies (VODAFONE).