Open Source Reference Model of European Transmission Networks for Scientific Analysis
Will we need transmission lines all the way from the North Sea to southern Germany if we are to succeed in making the transition to renewable energies? Can the deployment of storage units address local bottlenecks in the transmission grid? The SciGRID research project has created an open model of European transmission networks to help us answer these types of questions by using, for example, detailed energy system simulations.
September 2014 until December 2017
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Institute of Networked Energy Systems (individual project)
Project Mananger at the Institute of Networked Energy Systems:
Dr. Wided Medjroubi
Transmission networks play a vital role in the transformation of the electricity supply which results from the transition to renewable energies. Extra-high-voltage transmission lines with a voltage between 220,000 and 380,000 volts transport electricity from power stations and offshore wind parks to distribution networks. These in turn provide users with electricity. i The decisions concerning how to plan and use this infrastructure to maximum effect are taken exclusively by the Transmission Network Operators and the national network agencies. Moreover, the grid data is not publicly available or georeferenced. With SciGRID, the Institute of Networked Energy Systems has developed a model of the European transmission networks and made it freely available to the public in an effort to provide access to scientific researchers and representatives from industry and business.
The SciGRID model, which is accompanied by comprehensive documentation, is suitable for use in scientific and technical studies. If, for example, plans were under consideration to build power lines to connect wind parks in the North Sea to centres of high consumption in southern Germany, then researchers could use this information to produce alternative scenarios. Similarly, an analysis of the data provided by SciGRID can help to determine how to tackle the electricity demand by means of storage units. The model provides a solid foundation for innovative network planning in a number of other areas too. The data is made available under the Open Database License (ODbL), while the code is freely available under the Apache-2.0 licence.
SciGRID uses geodata from openstreetmap.org and currently covers 454 substations and 826 lines in the German transmission network, amounting to a total length of 32,436 kilometres. Specifications related to electrical resistance and capacities of the transmission lines are also included. This allows users to analyse complex interactions in the power grid and simulate its operation. Established models for network planning can now be more effectively compared. Furthermore, the methods developed during the project are transferable to similar grids located outside of Europe and to different voltage levels.
Further information on the Research Project SciGrid: