A workshop providing discussion and insights on the future management of Smart Grids, based on sharing and feedback from innovative pilots being undertaken by Utilities in Italy, Ireland and Germany, was hosted by the Department of Electric, Electronic and Information Engineering of the Università Di Bologna, on  4th June 2018, as an Energy Day event of the EU Sustainable Energy Week 2018.

The pilots, which are part of the ADMS and SOGNO EU Horizon 2020 projects, include Enel e-distribuzione using low-cost PMUs in Italy, ESB Networks on Active Capacity & Outages Management in Ireland, and in Germany a Smart Grid Campus by RWTH and AI driven Grid Management by Bayernwerk.

The speakers and audience included Utility representatives from Romania, Ireland and Estonia, smart grid companies, representatives of UNIBO and RWTH academy and others.

Very engaging presentations and discussions at the workshop confirmed that the ADMS system and SOGNO service approach are well aligned with the strategic integration of data and ICT in the management of distribution networks, and concluded:


  • DSOs are evaluating now whether to invest in conventional assets (cables, transformers) or smart assets (information technology). However, the high uncertainty of the future scenarios sets the equilibrium on the side of the smart grid approach.
  • If we apply the same approach used in transmission for monitoring the distribution grid, the investments will be unsustainable. For Grid Awareness, it is necessary to mass deploy low-cost measurement units and efficient communication technologies such as 5G to the grid edge.
  • State estimation and monitoring approaches based on Artificial Intelligence may also help to obtain full Grid Awareness with less devices and hardware in the field.
  • Measurement devices have to be tested and validated together with their sensors for reliable use in smart grids.
  • GPS technology can be a weak point of a monitoring chain based on phasor measurements. Therefore algorithms to accurately estimate the phase angle when not available from field measurements have to be included.