ICT Solutions, Technology Architecture and System Integration

NETfficient ICT Solution, Definition of Technology Architecture and System Integration

One of the milestones of NETfficient ICT Systems is the development of Energy Management Software and tools that allow integration of distributed generation and smart meters, low level control systems and the communications of the components and systems altogether.

The image to the right shows an overview of NETfficient ICT Systems in relation with the use cases.
Within the demonstration (use cases), the described advanced ICT Systems target the following issues:

  • Performing a technical and economic synergy between local energy storage resources (ideally of several energy vectors) and the smart grid management improving their integration.
  • Increasing the grid security and stability, and reducing grid congestion e.g. through appropriate control and management of the distributed energy storage systems through the ICT systems.
  • Integration of storage services in network management, particularly exploiting storage with ICT interfaces to facilitate the integration and back-up of highly variable renewable generation and dispersed demand response.
  • Minimizing the stress on the transmission and distribution grid, the energy locally consumed on building and house level will be maximized with the help of intelligent ICT systems which optimize the energy flow at any given time.


Figure 5: NETfficient ICT Systems benefits

Energy Management Platform (EMP)


Figure 6: High level functionalities offered by EMP ICT System
A the core of this ICT System, the design and definition of an Energy Management Platform (EMP) and Energy Control System (also as basis for running subsystems development) has been completed. Further, development and testing of the systems and scenarios for the integration of DER energy into grid via DSO control systems are already in course. For NETfficient, the EMP system or aggregator is an essential piece to achieve the objectives established. It is an open platform that allows replacing a service or adding new ones, adapting to new requirements. It is designed for attending events between machines in or out EMP and it attends user orders through a Web Application.
The following figure shows the high level functionalities of EMP ICT System (figure 6), its functionalities from three data views and Smart DMS General Schema as example for EMP engagement for NETfficient.
Generally, the EMP provides the following functionalities.
To gain a better insight into the EMP functionalities, the EMP data model of grid configuration (figure 7) divides the EMP functionalities in a three data view, consisting of the subsequent categories:

  • Logical view: It contains background information for system exploitation which generates KPIs, Billing, Business reporting.
  • Operational view: It contains background information for tactical decision for the supplying and power generation dynamically considering grid behaviour and him possibilities.
  • Maintenance view: It contains background information necessary for maintenance task orders.

Figure 7: Data model approach of grid configuration
With its various functionalities, the EMP plays an important role in each of the use cases as well as Management and Control services in general. Figure 8 shows the EMP functionalities related to the different use and management cases. (For a more detailed example of the EMP functionalities within “Grid Forecasting” see Grid Forecasting - Smart Energy Management and DMS Schema.)
< Figure 8: EMP functional modules; Figure 9: Logic Controller - homeLYnk >
For User Control and Monitoring Actions on the EMP functionalities, also a Web-Application and Control Panel were created.
Technically, the EMP helped by the logic controller - home_LYnk (see figure 9), enables the user to access to the designed User Interface (UI). The Control Panel is the unit that accesses the home_LYnk. The interface can be displayed on all devices, local or mobile. Optimised for each device, the interface design ensures quick handling.
Overall, users can control and monitor all functions. They will be connected to the web-based server application. All they need is an internet connection and a smartphone or tablet PC to login and access the NETfficient control panel. Figures 10 shows the starting page of the login area of the User Interface of the Web-Application. Figure 10: User Interface - Login Area >

Grid Forecasting - Smart Energy Management and DMS Schema


Figure 11: Smart DMS General Schema
With regard to the objective “Grid Forecasting and Energy Management” not only the design (figure 11) but also the installation of the forecasting tool “Forecasting energy production and demand for NETfficient project” (figure 12) was achieved.

The following Smart Distribution Management System - DMS - General Schema gives an overview of how the EMP, here in its function as Aggregated Management Platform – AMP, is utilized for Grid Forecasting.
The grid forecasting functional module has to provide the EMP with constantly updated forecasts of the power produced or consumed by the Points of Supply. This service is required for an optimal control of the energy resources, since these are not completely programmable in advance mainly due to the variability of the weather conditions. The function is provided as a web service, which is demonstrated by the forecasting tool “Forecasting energy production and demand for NETfficient project”.
The tool is already running and allows forecasting for MV PV-plant, wind turbines and street lighting. The data generated is supporting the Smart Energy Management Systems to serve to the most benefit of the End User /Prosumer. It is public and accessible via internet: http://netfficient.crs4.it/netfficient/Map

Figure 12 gives a glimpse of the forecasting map and data generated for NETfficient.

Based on the forecasted profiles (data generation by the forecasting tool and data processing and management by Smart DMS Schema), it is possible to implement an optimal energy management strategy that allows the selection of the most suitable service to be provided. These consist e.g. of minimizing appropriate objective functions, which are defined in accordance with both technical and economic criteria.
The implementation of the optimal management strategies requires the knowledge of energy storage status, including the corresponding operating constraints.

Figure 12: Forecasting energy production and demand for NETfficient project

Life Cycle Assessment / Life Cycle Cost of the project’s storage systems

NETfficient consortium has completed the tasks of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and a first analysis of Life Cycle Costs (LCC).

A main purpose of the environmental and cost assessment is to understand how a different electric grid with novel components influences the overall environmental burden of the energy system.







Figure 13: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) - Cradle-to-grave Life Cycle stages
For NETfficient, several of the objectives will have implications on the energy system that can lead to changes in the environmental burden. This implies that as initial contribution novel components for storage and control will be inventoried as a basis for systems assessments.

LCA for NETfficient is i.e. made in accordance with ISO 14044 and is widely accepted as the most comprehensive method to verify environmental improvements of new product designs.

LCC is applied as an assessment tool to estimate the entire cost of typically large scale assets, for example buildings and infrastructure objects with a considerably long serviceable life. For this type of object, options differ regarding the types of cost that arise, with capital costs up front and operating cost for maintenance, service and personnel for longer terms. Another aspect to consider is the end-of –life phase of the asset including potential benefits from recycling or impacts for treatment of waste.

MENU