THE POWER GRID AS AN ENERGY MANAGER


Wind and solar power will play an increasing role in meeting tomorrow’s energy demands. However, fluctuating feed-in levels from the- se distributed generators can also lead to vol- tage fluctuations and capacity problems in the grid. Smart grids are the solution. “By con- stantly coordinating generators, consumers and storage devices, intelligent power grids can maximise capacity use and enable intelli- gent energy management,” explains Wolfgang Hribernik, Head of the Electrical Energy Sys- tems Business Unit. AIT is developing the new components and control concepts required to prepare the energy infrastructure to face fu- ture challenges and strengthen the competi- tiveness of Austrian industry.

It is usually not possible to validate the va- rious smart grid scenarios live during real operations for safety reasons. That’s why AIT has developed its SmartEST (Smart Electricity System Technology) laboratory, the only infra- structure in the world which can be used to demonstrate future energy systems under real-life operating conditions. This is achieved by simulating a section of the network and

coupling real components into this virtual network environment. These ʻpower hard- ware in the loopʼ simulations (P-HIL) provide real-time information on how individual com- ponents react with the network structure and with other connected devices. “That could be a PV system, an electrical storage device or a charging station for an electric vehicle – all configurations which will become more com- mon in the coming years,” according to Hri- bernik. The laboratory offers both manufactu- rers and grid operators the opportunity to prepare their products and ideas to face new challenges, and has also received the highest praise from international experts.


STRENGTHENING AUSTRIA AS AN INNOVATION HUB


Over the past years the AIT Energy Depart- ment has succeeded in steadily expanding its leading role in smart grid research. With its extensive infrastructure and longstanding ex- pertise, AIT is currently playing in the Cham- pions League of research centres working in this field. This strong position is evidenced by the Department’s close strategic cooperation

BRIGITTE BACH

Head of Energy Department

We’re taking a holistic view of urban energy systems, one which includes all le- vels of infrastructure be- cause sustainable and en- ergy-efficient smart cities can only be achieved through an integrative ap- proach to planning and operation.

Smart grids enable efficient and intelligent energy management. AIT investigates, validates and demonstrates the underlying technologies required.