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By | August 28, 2023

CIRED 2023: A Reflection on the Future of Distribution Grids

This post was contributed by Tony Xiang of Alliander.

The International Conference and Exhibition on Electricity Distribution, better known as CIRED, is an event held every two years, bringing together professionals from the electricity distribution industry. The 2023 event, set against a backdrop of increasing dependence on sustainable energy sources and advanced technology, was one to remember.

Digitalization and AI in Distribution Networks

A important theme was the integration of digital technologies into the distribution network. The potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in predicting failures, optimizing network performance, and enhancing customer service was widely discussed.

Power Grid Model: a High-Performance Distribution Grid Calculation Library

This theme also touched on LF Energy’s Power Grid Model project. Tony Xiang, Peter Salemink, Nitish Bharambe, and Werner van Westering presented the Power Grid Model project and their published paper “Power Grid Model: a High-Performance Distribution Grid Calculation Library – Yu Xiang, Peter Salemink, Bram Stoeller, Nitish Bharambe, Werner van Westering Alliander N.V., The Netherlands”.

In their paper, they outline the limitations of traditional methods for power grid analysis and the need for the Power Grid Model project. Alliander developed the Power Grid Model for electricity network simulations. It enables in-depth studies and analyses of the behavior and performance of the electricity network, taking into account factors like power capacity, electrical losses, voltage levels, power flows, and system stability. It finds applications in various areas, including congestion studies, network planning, expansion, and system operations. Additionally, it can help in analyzing the impact of renewable energy integration, assessing the effects of failures or errors, and developing strategies for network management and optimization. Compared to other tools, the Power Grid Model stands out for its speed.

The Power Grid Model is an open source project and part of Linux Foundation Energy. Alliander is actively working on the Power Grid Model for its further development. Want to learn more about the Power Grid Model, like how to contribute? Check out the project page or the technical documentation.

Other Core Themes of CIRED 2023

  • The shift to green energy: A recurring theme at the conference was the need to transition to sustainable energy sources. Experts shared their vision of what the future distribution networks might look like, with a more significant role for renewable energy sources like sun, wind, and water.
  • Decentralization of energy sources: With the rise of microgrids and home batteries, the distribution network becomes more decentralized. This brings both challenges and opportunities. Engaging discussions were held on how to manage this decentralization effectively and how to ensure the network’s reliability.
  • Electric mobility: The growth of electric vehicles (EVs) has a direct impact on electricity distribution. How can we adjust the infrastructure to meet the growing demand for EV charging points? This was one of the central questions the event sought answers to.
  • Customer engagement and awareness: Engaging end-users in the energy transition is crucial. Several innovative approaches were presented to raise customers’ awareness of their energy consumption and encourage them to be more energy-efficient.

In Conclusion

CIRED 2023 was more than just a technical conference; it was a meeting place for ideas and innovations that will shape the future of electricity distribution. As we look ahead to the coming years, it’s clear that collaboration, innovation, and a commitment to sustainability will be crucial to address the challenges of the future and realize a greener, more efficient energy future.