IRP44: Advanced functionalities for the future smart secondary substation

The continuous increase in the share of renewable energy sources (RES) and the advances in power electronics, sensing and communications are causing a drastic redefinition of electrical networks. The current model is based on centralised generation and a passive power distribution/transmission network. In the near future, the generation will consist in smaller generation sources that are more geographically dispersed and the distribution system will be active allowing the interaction between supply and demand with the aim of improving efficiency, of reducing energy costs and of satisfying quality specifications.

Most RES are connected to the grids through some kind of power electronic interface. Hence, a control algorithm can act on the power delivered to the grid in order to achieve a balance between production and consumption. However, as the power generated by RES is highly variable, the operation aiming to balance generation and consumption may result in an inefficient use of RES and oversized electronic interfaces. Also, Energy Storage Systems (ESS) add the flexibility necessary to compensate the highly intermittent power delivered by RES. In this way, the RES electronic interfaces are used to optimise the energy harvesting and the ESS serve to smooth the power fluctuation in the grid and to help in maintaining the power balance. The use of electronics interfaces is also possible in certain loads, which allows the control of power demand. This gives rise to new possibilities in the operation of electrical grids.

The objective of this Individual Research Project is to develop, implement and test Advanced functionalities for the future Smart Secondary Substation. The project entails the development of advanced control solutions that contribute for an effective smart grid implementation. The ESR will be working together with several other specialist research engineers allowing a strong knowledge sharing across several activity areas. The development of in-house solutions (Hardware and Software) will strongly benefit the implementation of the outcome of the project allowing the test of the algorithms to be developed on embedded platforms that can actually be tested on real scenarios. Therefore, centralised and distributed control algorithms will be developed to regulate the power flow in order to reduce cost and improve quality. The power regulation also makes it possible to improve economic benefits by programming the purchase and sale of energy depending on its price. Furthermore, the Distribution System Operator (DSO) or third parties such as aggregators will be enabled with the possibility to interface with field equipment and even low voltage loads and generation units through their communicative equipment interfacing with inverters and controlling its power output.

  • Develop advanced control solutions that contribute for an effective smart grid implementation.
  • Provide functionalities such as local energy balancing, voltage control, peak-shaving and grid constraints reduction, micro/mini-generation control, demand response, dynamic tariffs, storage and electric vehicle integration, losses optimisation (technical and commercial) and fault detection, location and management.
Expected Results
  • Development and implementation of the functionalities on industrial platforms for development of solutions currently in use by the company’s clients.
  • Integration on embedded platforms at the secondary substation for local control strategies to be deployed, respecting a hierarchical architecture, within the smart grids context.
Early Stage Researcher:

Konstantinos Kotsalos - -


Nuno Silva

Host institution: