The electric power system is the most meaningful example of a “system”, made by components that are connected together to interact. In comparison with other systems, such as internet, highways, railways, natural gas infrastructures, the electric system is the most coupled one, namely any event can affect all the other elements of the network, even if very distant from the origin .

Generators (sources), loads (sinks), together with storage devices, simply want to deliver, absorb and exchange electric power and energy throughout the network. The ideal network should work like a “single bus”, without introducing any limitations or bottlenecks, but also without allowing any disturbance between users, reaching in this way the full decoupling.

Transmission systems are becoming more and more meshed and interconnected and thus powerful. ENTSO-E envisages in 2050 a pan-European super-grid made by electric highways super-imposed to the meshed traditional grid.

The question as to whether, when and with what technologies will be inherent to this 2050 super-grid vision needs an answer. That is necessary to determine the best connection and exploitation of any kind of generation, renewable or not, useful to enforce the energy market integration in Europe. With the final scope of delivering electric power and energy to the consumers with the highest quality and security at the lowest costs and with the minimum environmental impact.

“Smartness” in distribution networks is the availability to connect and operate any sort of small size distributed generation, allowing reverse power flows even backwards in the transmission system. Furthermore the participation of consumers to the optimal dispatching of power and energy in the overall system, through load management, is evolving towards advanced demand side management applications.

On different scales, both transmission and distribution are aimed at the same target and the best network will approach the goal of neither limitations nor disturbances to the users, generators or final consumers. All the efforts in planning, developing, designing, building and operating networks are addressed to these fundamental objectives.

In this way, huge efforts and investments in power networks are just aimed at hiding the network itself: so no network is the perfect network.
CESI’s Vision

CESI help TSOs and DSOs bearing in mind this scenario, smoothing over the process towards the obtainment of best network. To achieve this scope, high skills are necessary, that spread from generation and transmission to distribution systems and even metering infrastructures and load management.

In power, the most advanced technologies from information and telecommunication fields have to be handled taking inspiration from the concept of the WEB, even if there are some critical issues in this comparison. Decoupling is much easier in the internet cloud than in power systems; technology is moving much slower for power equipment than for ICT; power is potentially much more dangerous and environmentally demanding than soft technologies.

One of the most important element in this WEB concept for the power system is a full connectivity everywhere with the same modalities (Plug and Play), without caring for the network infrastructure in the background and this paradigm can be principally applied to Distribution.

Full compatibility in planning, design and operation of the interconnected systems and Energy Markets can be reached by means of the total harmonization of the different grid codes and regulatory frameworks in different countries, in order to approach complete site-independence.

“No network” is also the dream of market regulators and consumers. In fact, two main issues make the energy market a non-ideal market: the need to produce energy (power) following the demand in real-time, and the bottlenecks and limitations due to the non-ideal network that causes market splitting and zonal prices. The “no-network” concept can override this second issue, while the first one can be faced by storage applications. Storage can be considered as “users” of the networks, as generation and load, but even as “part” of the network.

In CESI’s vision bulky and slow moving energy storage could easily be considered as a “user” since it deals with the energy market. High power fast energy storage, with a relatively small amount of energy, could be considered as “part” of the network, like the energy stored in the overall capacitance and reactance of the network itself. This plays a significant role in the system stability.

In order to face these new challenges a “smart mind” is essential. A mind trained in traditional technological knowledge but open to the use of new models, daring to make breakthroughs.