INTERPRETER: a project to ease grid management

General objective:

The overall objective of the INTERPRETER project is to develop a modular grid management solution consisting of a set of interoperable off-line and on-line software tools for an optimized design, planning, operation and maintenance of the electricity grid – with a special focus on distribution network – that will be offered to grid operators through an open source software platform. These tools will support DSOs and TSOs to move from a traditional grid management approach to an active system management approach, addressing the whole power system (i.e. both distribution and transmission level) and considering the rapid deployment of distributed energy resources (variable renewables and storage) as well as growing environmental concerns.

The overall solution and each of its modules will be developed, tested and validated in close collaboration with 2 DSOs from 6 different EU countries, providing a set of representative use cases, thus ensuring the replicability and uptake of INTERPRETER solution across Europe.

Specific objectives:

Increase the efficiency of the grid management – including both operation and maintenance – through a set of innovative, interoperable and modular software applications making use of the new grid models

To improve the sustainability and to reduce the costs in the electricity grid design and planning through a set of innovative, interoperable and modular software applications making use the new grid models

To test and validate INTERPRETER solutions using a set of representative use cases defined in collaboration with 2 different European DSOs from Spain and Belgium

To promote the adoption of INTERPRETER modular approach and overall solution through intense dissemination and the knowledge transfer of the project’s main outcomes towards the targeted stakeholders

To discuss and provide recommendations and insights in several areas of the project – interoperability, cybersecurity, data protection – to key stakeholders in the framework of relevant I, such as BRIDGE

INTERPRETER: Active System Management for DSOs

The transition towards a “low-carbon, secure, reliable, resilient, accessible, cost-efficient, and market-based pan-European integrated energy system” is significantly transforming the power system and the electricity grid, moving from a unidirectional, centralised and fossil-based system towards a bidirectional, distributed and (mainly variable) renewable-based system.

INTERPRETER will develop a new generation of Smart Grid tools aimed at supporting the DSO in the efficient management and effective planning of the distribution network with a holistic perspective of the power system.

The main idea of INTERPRETER is to develop a tool for LV distribution grid modelling as enabler for data-based software applications (off-line and on-line) for optimised planning, maintenance and operation of the distribution grid. Grid models and some associated software tools exist already for HV transmission grids, but distribution grids were lacking sufficient information. With the rise of smart-grid technology, such as AMI roll-out and advanced communication possibilities, systematic LV grid modelling has become feasible. INTERPRETER will therefore complement the existing HV and MV grid models, thus reaching a complete model of the whole power system.

INTERPRETER will develop a grid management platform with these grid models (newly available for LV, already available to DSOs and TSOs for MV and HV) at its core. The grid management platform consists of the grid modelling tool and ten innovative modular software applications that take advantage of the grid models and data management infrastructure of the platform. The concept of the grid modelling tool and associated software applications are further described at the end of this section.

INTERPRETER grid management platform will be designed as a comprehensive solution primarily for DSOs, but several of the modules included will be also relevant for TSO and transmission grid management. In addition, this platform will open the opportunity to exchange information and balancing services with TSO platforms. DSO-TSO coordination will be demonstrated by a specific software tool which can offer ancillary services, such as primary balancing, to the TSO, based on available information from the LV grid model and other tools.

The INTERPRETER core tool, the automated grid generation from available information from the grid operator is applicable to any voltage level. For MV and HV networks, it is very common that detailed grid models exist already. Therefore, these cases are covered by the best-case-scenario, with highest information level. Required model parameters (line lengths, impedances, transformers, etc.) are identical for any electrical network and only values change. Therefore, proposed grid models are applicable also for MV and HV networks..

The project applications will be combined in a common IT approach by using an interoperable architecture based on Atos FUSE and outlined in the figure. Atos FUSE is an open-source platform that enables the integration of devices at the edge by fully exploiting data available from local and distributed energy resources. This solution goes beyond commercially available platforms, which often claim to be open and interoperable with other software and devices but are designed to cope with the specific requirements of the equipment they usually promote and there is little information about their architecture.

INTERPRETER interoperable tools

INTERPRETER: reaching a large impact at the European scale

To new approaches electricity grid planning

INTERPRETER grid planning applications (optimal reactive power compensation, nodal capacity allocation, storage location and planned phase balancing) will support both DSOs and TSOs to move away from traditional grid planning approaches, most of which use deterministic simulations with different grid scenarios to report five/ten-year network development plans in a yearly basis.

INTERPRETER software applications will take into account the massive integration of variable energy sources in power grids and the new challenges like the risk of lines congestion or energy unbalancing they bring along, going well beyond existing tools for network analysis, mostly based on rather simplistic calculations of particular renewable installations at specific nodes in the network, to more planning oriented tools with coherent scenarios encompassing entire operational envelope of the network and taking into consideration renewable energy generation, usage of energy storage and the provision of flexibility based services.

Provide flexibility (network congestion, reactive power flow control, etc.) to the system thanks to the commissioning of energy storage facilities as an alternative to traditional grid reinforcements : the storage location application will calculate the savings on infrastructure costs by evaluating the possibility of using storage for the deferral of network investment.

The inclusion of an LCC tool will determine the total cost of owning, operating and disposing of a product, service or technological system throughout its life -> this approach implies the recognition of the direct, indirect, recurring, non-recurring costs incurred or expected to incur during the phases of design, research and development, investment, operation, maintenance, shutdown and other support related of a product during its life cycle.

The INTERPRETER approach will support decision makers at grid operators to identify the cost effectiveness of each key infrastructure component when preparing their grid plans. The environmental impacts of each single intervention following the ISO 14044 standard, which measure the external costs of global warming contribution associated with emissions of different greenhouse gases, will also provide new valuable information to grid planers from DSOs and TSOs.

To new approaches to grid operation and maintenance

INTERPRETER will support DSOs to make use of potential flexibility available sources, particularly for addressing voltage and congestion issues in their network. INTERPRETER grid congestion and voltage balance tool will derive the necessary mitigating services to specific parts of the distribution grid, their impact on the network as well as the value to the DSO, and generate service requests in the form of a load reduction/increase at a particular network area for the particular period or as a maximum total consumption at a particular point in the network to the service providers.

INTERPRETER, through the service coordination application will foster an active management of the distribution network in relation to the upper-level network operation state and it will enable the exchange of plans for the scheduled operation within the next control frames between DSO and TSO, thus facilitating the coordination between the two operators for the utilisation of the available flexibility sources in the most optimal way from a system perspective.

INTERPRETER proposes a new approach to solve the partition and optimisation problem related to the grid self-healing capability, not only acting against grid disturbances but also securing the grid against disturbances spread, through the Reinforcement Learning (RL) paradigm, able to find and learn the solution to the restoration of service (self-healing) and distribution problems by interacting with the models that are a reliable representation of the actual environment, i.e. the grid and the faulty grid.

INTERPRETER will also bring innovative approaches to the NTL issue, which have been frequently addressed using SVM as a means of data classification (to detect abnormal behaviour), but which produces typically high levels of false positives. INTERPRETER solution will use deep learning pattern recognition AI techniques to drastically reduce these false positives when smart meter data is available and state estimation techniques and the grid model when this data is not available, thus ensuring usable solutions for different use cases across Europe.

INTERPRETER will support grid operators in moving from a preventing maintenance approach, characterised by planned outages during low load periods, to a more efficient predictive maintenance. INTERPRETER predictive maintenance tool will gather the vast amount of information coming from smart meters and other sensors spread across the electricity grid, analyse it and provide recommendations to perform maintenance services or replace critical grid equipment. INTERPRETER will thus introduce a new level of intelligent, multiple inspection points’ data exploitation for predicting maintenance actions.

To reduced grid operation and maintenance costs (OPEX)

INTERPRETER will develop a maintenance tool based on data analytics and machine learnings techniques to boost an intelligent predictive maintenance strategy for the grid. This tool will contribute to reduce maintenance time-intervals and equipment failures by more than 15 %, as well as increasing by more than 30% the margin of the revenue compared to a non-smart maintenance strategy.

Non-technical losses are those associated with inadequate or missing revenue metering, with problems with billing or collection systems, etc. Non-technical losses, in the way of frauds, causes 3,7 billion of euros of economic losses in Europe. Thanks to the INTERPRETER tool tailored to the reduction of non-technical losses, boosted by the new LV grid model, it is expected to reduce them at least up to a 50% in the validation sites, improving grid performs and economical revenues.

Taking into account that by 2022 the deployment of smart meters will be completed, this detection rate will be able to be achieved in the whole EU distribution grids. Thus, economic savings will be in the range of the 1.8 billion of euros thanks to INTERPRETER tool use.

The application of the INTERPRETER non-technical losses tool, would allow to successfully detect 14.314 MWh of NTL between the three pilots, with a total value of 665.576 €.

INTERPRETER solutions are expected to achieve a high impact in SAIDI and SAIFI, reducing both indicators up to 25% regarding business-as-usual cases in the 3 pilots, and achieving the goal of Zero Blackouts due to congestion issues, which would result in the following energy and costs saving for the operators.

Indirect Impacts


Work Packages

WP1 Management and Coordination - led by CIRCE M1-M36

Leader: CIRCE

Duration: M1-M36

Objective: To develop an effective and comprehensive administrative, financial, technical and legal management in order to ensure the successful execution of the project.

WP2 Project baseline and definition of use cases - led by ORES M1-M9

Leader: ORES

Duration: M1-M9

Objective: To set-up the baseline and framework for the different tools and overall solution architecture to be developed and validated in the project – identifying the main trends shaping the role of the DSOs; characterising the main technologies, platforms and systems used by them; and defining a set of representative use cases.

WP3 Tool for low-voltage grid modelling - led by CIRCE M7-M18

Leader: CIRCE

Duration: M7-M18

Objective: To provide a tool for the development of LV grid models, which can cope with different amounts and quality of available information. The resulting grid model will be stored in CIM format to facilitate exchange with other applications.

WP4 Software applications for efficient operation & maintenance of the grid - led by DTU M13-M24

Leader: DTU

Duration: M13-M24

Objective: To develop new software applications to support DSOs (and TSOs) to manage their grids in a more efficient manner. The new applications include: (i) the detection of non-technical losses; (ii) voltage balance and congestion management; and (iii) the extension of ancillary services through the interaction of DSO/TSO. All these applications will make use of the new available models for the LV grid (WP3).

WP5 Software applications for an effective grid planning - led by R&D NESTER M13-M24

Leader: R&D NESTER

Duration: M13-M24

Objective: to develop new software applications to support DSOs to plan their grids in a more effective manner. The new applications include:
(i) the optimal compensation of reactive power;
(ii) planning of future infrastructures;
(iii) planning of phase balancing:
(iv) optimization of location for distributed generation and
(v) storage units.
All these applications will make use of the new available models for the LV grid (WP3). These five technical tasks will be complemented by another one, focusing on the environmental impact assessment of any proposed solution and configuration.

WP6 Integration of modelling tool and SW applications in a common framework and existing platforms - led by ATOS SPAIN SA M5-M28


Duration: M5-M28

Objective: To create the space to integrate multiple data sources and platforms to effectively deliver software solutions and enable its extension towards other ecosystems outside the consortium. To cope with all the components of this approach, this WP includes the necessary tasks for the overall integration, from the deployment of the general repositories to their connection to the executed applications.

WP7 Testing and validation for selected use cases - led by CUERVA M19-M36

Leader: CUERVA

Duration: M19-M36

Objective: To test and validate the grid modelling tool, the various applications for efficient management and effective planning of the grid and the overall solutions in a relevant environment with the support of the DSOs involved in the project.

WP8 Dissemination, communication and exploitation. - led by EQY M1-M36

Leader: EQY

Duration: M1-M36

Objective: To define communication and dissemination activities to be carried out throughout (and after) the project to ensure that INTERPRETER results will effectively benefit as much European distribution and transmission grids as possible. The WP8 team lead by EQY will continuously monitor and provide means for the INTERPRETER partners to share results within the consortium and to integrate the research and innovation activities as well as to communicate the developments, disseminate the results towards all relevant stakeholders, in order to facilitate their exploitation and study possible synergies with other EU projects.

WP9 Ethics requirements - led by CIRCE M1-M36

Leader: CIRCE

Duration: M1-M36

Objective: This work package sets out the ‘ethics requirements’ that the project must comply with.


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