South Africa's power grid needs to become more intelligent for it to adapt to changing generation, transmission and distribution priorities.

Smart Grid Gotland, a Swedish initiative to create one of the world’s smartest electricity networks, has teamed with Ventyx, an ABB company, to add the functionality to allow customers to control consumption based on energy prices and will help meet European Union carbon emission reduction targets.

As part of the project, Ventyx will deploy a comprehensive Distribution System Optimization solution encompassing network control, demand response management, demand forecasting and business analytics to support the project, enabling large quantities of wind and other renewable and distributed energy sources to be integrated into the grid, while maintaining reliability and providing better operational performance.

Ventyx will be working alongside Gotlands Energi AB (GEAB), the utility serving the Swedish island of Gotland. GEAB is 75% owned by Vattenfall, one of Europe’s largest generators of electricity, which is also a major partner in Smart Grid Gotland.

Smart Grid Gotland’s objectives

Smart Grid Gotland is a cooperation project between Vattenfall, ABB, GEAB, Svenska Kraftnät, Schneider Electric and KTH, and is partly financed by the Swedish Energy Agency. The project was launched in September 2012 and will run to December 2015.

Smart Grid Gotland has three main objectives:

1. Cost efficiently increase the hosting capacity for wind power in an existing distribution system

2. Show that novel technology can improve the power quality in a rural grid with large quantities of installed wind power

3. Create possibilities for demand-side participation in the electricity market, in order to shift load from peak load hours to peak production hours.

For a more detailed description of the project, have a look at Engerati’s Smart Grid Gotland-Electricity Network for the Future presentation.

Sweden’s pilot leading to bigger things

The project was initiated in response to the European Union’s climate change target to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by 2020. Sweden plans to increase its renewable electricity production primarily through wind power, as generated on the Island of Gotland. The island is the largest in the Baltic Sea 90 km from the Swedish mainland. It provides customers with low carbon, sustainable power supplies.

After this Gotland pilot, the solutions and ideas could be transferred to larger-scale projects on the Swedish mainland and in other European countries. The aim would be to provide citizens with more reliable power and an ability to control their energy consumption and costs.

The distribution management system (DMS) software by Ventyx, integrated with ABB hardware, will be used to address bottlenecks in the distribution network that may restrict the flow from the wind turbines to consumers.

Veijo Huusko, Head of R&D Portfolio Management, Vattenfall Nordic, explains that wind power is produced out in the distribution grid and, like solar energy, is highly variable. This presents challenges when it comes to power quality, surveillance and control of the grid. He says that the network management software from Ventyx will create a smarter and more efficient grid which can be used to increase the use of renewable energy sources, improve power quality and create added cost-savings for customers over conventional grid technology.

Ventyx Network Manager SCADA systems will cover one of the island’s substation and its associated network – managing daily operations and helping to reduce the duration and frequency of outages through the use of smart meters and other equipment in the field.

The Ventyx business analytics solution will analyze data from the SCADA/DMS/OMS system, and potentially other sources to help boost operational efficiency and reliability while reducing costs.

According to Jens Birgersson, head of the Network Management business at ABB, which acquired Ventyx in 2010, the Gotland Smart Grid project, is one of the world’s most innovative and significant smart grid initiatives. It demonstrates how modernizing electricity networks can support a greater variety of renewable energy sources while at the same time improving power reliability and customer control.

Says Birgersson, “It is a significant step forward in the development of a modern, sustainable society with the potential for it to serve as an international model for intelligent electricity networks.”

This article was written by smart energy platform Engerati, the sister site to