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By | August 29, 2023

LF Energy Summit 2023 Recap: Exploring SOGNO: An Open Framework for Distribution Grid Automation

LF Energy Summit 2023 witnessed an insightful presentation titled “An Open Framework for Distribution Grid Automation” by Dr. Antonello Monti, a distinguished professor at RWTH Aachen University in Germany (video follows below). In this session, Dr. Monti unveiled the innovative project SOGNO, an acronym for the ambitious open framework aimed at revolutionizing distribution grid automation.

The Need for Distribution Grid Automation

Dr. Monti began by highlighting the evolving landscape of distribution system operators (DSOs) and the pressing need for automation in distribution grids. The shift towards sustainability necessitates efficient grid management to optimize infrastructure usage, prevent stranded investments, and adapt to changing energy demands.

Introducing SOGNO

SOGNO, conceptualized and developed under the Linux Foundation Energy, serves as a transformative solution to distribution grid automation. The project’s name stands for a flexible and modular “Service-based Open-source Grid automation platform for Network Operation of the future.”

Key Takeaways

  1. Edge-Centric Approach: Dr. Monti emphasized the project’s focus on edge devices’ growing significance in grid automation. The traditional top-down model is evolving into a more bottom-up paradigm, thanks to the proliferation of new devices at the grid’s terminal ends.
  2. Standard Architecture: SOGNO revolves around a standardized architecture, with a message broker at its core. This architecture facilitates the integration of various microservices that can be implemented for specific smart services.
  3. Legacy System Compatibility: The project acknowledges that many DSOs already have existing systems in place. SOGNO’s adaptability allows seamless integration with these legacy systems, ensuring continuity of existing services while introducing innovative enhancements.
  4. Flexibility for Future Markets: To address the dynamic nature of energy markets, SOGNO offers agnostic interfaces to market platforms. This enables DSOs to participate in upcoming markets, even if the specifics of these markets are yet to be defined.
  5. Customer Engagement: One striking aspect is SOGNO’s approach to engaging customers. The platform supports location-specific demos and simulations, facilitating customers’ active involvement in grid management and the transition to sustainable energy sources.
  6. Optimizing Power Flow: Dr. Monti illustrated how SOGNO optimizes power flow through examples like wind energy management. By integrating electric vehicles and smart pumps, SOGNO aids in limiting energy reverse flow, reducing the need for extensive infrastructure changes.
  7. Collaboration with LF Energy: SOGNO’s collaboration with other projects within the LF Energy ecosystem, such as Fledge Power and Open ADRS, exemplifies a holistic approach to grid digitalization.

Future Prospects

Dr. Monti also shared the project’s roadmap, discussing its expansion beyond the European context. As part of a follow-up project in Germany, SOGNO will venture into scaling low-voltage systems and continue pushing the envelope of grid automation.