Open grid software to speed up simulation

Open grid software to speed up simulation

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Siemens Smart Infrastructure has developed an open, modular suite of software for the electricity grid that supports digital twin simulation more efficiently.

The suite of software enables developers to keep the power grid cyber resilient while also creating a digital twin of the grid throughout planning, simulation, real-time operations and maintenance of power grids. They can run grid protection simulations up to six times faster than the current speed of execution, supporting utilities to better plan, operate and maintain power networks. The suite also improves smart meter data management with a cloud native option and improved task efficiency by up to 85 percent.

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Distributed energy resources (DERs) in power grids are becoming increasingly more complex and need open, modular and interoperable software, says Siemens. This has been the focus of the developments of the Linux Foundation at LF Energy.  

It has pulled together a group of operators on grid management, including Elvia and Statnett in Norway, IRETI in Italy, KNG-Kärnten Netz in Austria and Stadtwerke Flensburg in Germany, as well as CESC in India, and CMY Solutions, Hawaiian Electric and Quanta Technology in the US.

About 70 percent of the world’s electricity consumption or 16,000 terawatt hours each year already flows through infrastructure simulated by Siemens’ grid software, which makes the venture significant. There are 1300 control centre systems based on Siemens software with 100 million contracted smart meters in use by over 200 utilities globally.

All upcoming modules of the suite will be developed following specific design principles to interact seamlessly, and Siemens says it is also open to working with other developers of grid software for end-to-end workflows.

“The speed and scale of changes in the energy system are unprecedented, as distributed energy resources grow exponentially. Power grids are at the heart of a sustainable energy system and are becoming increasingly more complex. We cannot manage this complexity without open, modular and interoperable software,” said Sabine Erlinghagen, CEO of Grid Software at Siemens Smart Infrastructure. “By introducing the most comprehensive software suite in the market to date, we are leading the change to shape the grids of the future to a 100 percent renewable world. We are aware we cannot achieve the energy transition alone – we work with customers and partners.”

Worldwide electricity consumption is forecast to double by 2050, with a seven-fold growth in new distributed energy resources (DERs). Five million assets were introduced to the supply and demand side in 2020, connected to the power grid mostly on the low voltage level where grid operators to-date do not have much visibility. The intermittent nature of the DERs makes it much harder for grid operators to control the power grid and predict what will happen next.

“Traditional investment in hardware alone is not sufficient to deal with the complexity we see in energy systems today. We need disruptive and fast change where investment in software comes first and helps us leapfrog to green energy, away from reliance on fossil fuels. We’ve started this journey to transform our portfolio and plan to speed up towards our vision of autonomous grid operations,” said Erlinghagen.

The market for grid software is expected to double from $8bn in 2019 to roughly $17bn by 2028 and Siemens is doubling its digital revenue to EUR 1.5 billion by 2025 from EUR 750 million in 2021.

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