VEP published by E&M powernews

VEP published by E&M powernews

Energy & Management reports on VEP as a data hub for more grid transparency:

Electricity Grids. The VEP platform solution generates a digital image of the distribution grid from various data sources. This can be used, for example, to monitor load flows.

“We do not have transparency in medium and low voltage grids in order to be able to manage, maintain and plan these grids effectively,” complains Dr. Jonas Danzeisen, Managing Director of Venios. This is all the more problematic because of the energy system transformation towards decentralised power generation and the increase in volatility on the consumer side that pose major challenges for the Distributed System Operators (DSOs).

In addition, an increasing number of electric vehicles will exacerbate the situation. The Frankfurt-based start-up counters this with the Venios Energy Platform (VEP), which complements existing grid planning, control station and asset management systems with time- and location-resolved grid status data in the distribution grid. In order to this parallel processing, the cloud-based big data solution feeds of various data sources. According to Rene Kersten, information from GIS, asset management and EDM systems has proved to be very helpful. “For this purpose, we ideally need measurement data from local grid stations, cable distribution cabinets or even intelligent measuring systems, if they are already installed. We like to take everything we can get,” says the Head of Corporate Development.

Due to the hybrid system logic, however, real measurement data are only required at neuralgic points in the network. Because there, where no measured values are available today, the VEP implicit intelligence simulates the real load behaviour, explains Kersten.

Kersten: „Sometimes we also have to with the fact that parts of the grid are still documented in paper form“
Picture: Venios

From the sum of this information, a digital twin of the grid can be developed via the self-learning software. Based on calculations and simulations, grid operators can monitor load flows and voltages throughout the country, for example, or draw conclusions about the remaining life of transformers and distribution boxes. In addition, the use of intelligent software ensures significantly more speed and quality in grid expansion planning.

Smart grids create a real flood of data

According to Kersten, however, general benefits for grid operators are difficult to quantify: “The use of VEP ensures efficiency improvements in many different places. However, some important advantages are not directly visible, but arise in the context of the functionalities and above all on the basis of the generated high-resolution data.” According to the IT expert, it is certain that the intelligent grids of the future generate a “true flood of data, the processing of which is not possible in a classic control or Scada system”. As a big data application, VEP is optimized for the massively parallelized processing of precisely this data. The IT system collects data in real time and passes it on to third-party systems such as control technology or asset management after appropriate consolidation and intelligent processing, explains Kersten.

The VEP solution is currently in use at 30 companies, with about one third being international customers. This year, the team from Frankfurter expect to attract up to twelve new domestic and six international projects. Together with its partners Smart Grid Solutions (SGS), Venios supports the electricity utility of Zurich (ewz) in operating charging infrastructure, PV systems and heat pumps without additional strain on the grid infrastructure. In the same constellation with SGS, the team are helping the Indian energy utility, BSES Rajdhani Power Limited, to achieve its ambitious targets for the expansion of renewable energies with real-time monitoring of the low-voltage grid.

In this country, the big data solution has been in use for several months at the Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall, among others. In particular, the topics of grid load simulation and stability in the context of the integration of new feeders, storage systems and e-charging stations are in the foreground. According to Kersten, one of the special features of the project is the coupling with the Scada system “HighLeit” from IDS. Transparency and controllability can thus be implemented across all voltage levels via the composite control room. As a second specialty, he emphasizes the arbitrary extensibility of the system. This would enable the Swabian company to offer grid management as a service to third parties through a “very lean onboarding process”.

In addition to these applications, the topic of Redispatch 2.0 is, according to Kersten, “one of the major drivers for the platform concept of DSOs”. Venios is currently implementing the visualization of capacity available in the grid together with the VDE-FNN innovation hub based on the application rule 4141-1. Here, the Frankfurt based company has prevailed against 15 competitors with its solution. The aim is to set up a monitoring system for the current system status, which in particular displays the available capacity in the respective distribution grid and the current utilization. This monitoring should then be exchangeable between grid operators.

Data quality is a particular challenge in all these projects. That’s why a lot of effort was put into the development of highly specialized tools, Kersten reports. “As a result, we can largely automate onboarding today if the data base is only reasonably satisfactory.” But the Venios employees meet again and again very different worlds. As a rule, data from the lower grid levels are digitized. “Sometimes, however, we also have to deal with the fact that parts of the grid area are still documented in paper form or that relevant information exists only in the experience of a few key people,” explains Kersten.

Despite these adversities, due to the high degree of automation, one is able to provide a first working version in a relatively short time. Kersten cites a period of about ten working days as orientation values with an average data situation and a project size of around 1,000 local grid stations. The fine-tuning could then take up to six months.

However, the use of VEP is not only limited to grid operation, but also includes sales applications. The open area of the platform also makes it possible for Venios’ cooperation partners to participate as third-party use cases. In addition to Microsoft, whose cloud environment Azure uses, these include providers such as IBM, Spie and PPC, or hardware suppliers such as Phoenix Contact and SGS. The start-up also deals with issues such as sector coupling. “We have a customer where we can access power-to-heat systems automatically and directly to compensate for local voltage increases in the grid,” explains Kersten.  / MICHAEL NALLINGER

Matthias Nowak

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