Energy/Infrastructure/Smart Grids

Foto: Lukas Ilgner, AIT

DI Wolfgang Hribernik, Head of Business Unit Electric Energy Systems




Smart Grids form the key basis for a new, integrated and smart infrastructure. For this purpose, AIT conducts studies for network planning or pre-qualification of system components for partners from the energy sector.


Network planning studies for grid reinforcement, voltage band management, optimized load flow calculation

Pre-qualification of system components (power, ICT)

Interoperability tests in the laboratory, control tests, power hardware-in-the-loop tests, comprehensive functional tests of communication and power interfaces, development of communication interfaces

ICT solutions for network operation, development and validation of control architectures, measurement analysis and data processing, support in the field of communication networks, visualization of the system state


Methods for modelling and optimizing highly complex energy systems. Unification of different areas into a coherent theory that is consistent with flexible system boundaries:

Continuous aspects (e.g. the energy infrastructure of production, transport/distribution as well as consumption)

Discrete aspects (e.g. information technology such as distributed digital controls and communication),

Theoretical aspects of behaviour (e.g. roles, rules and agents on markets, game theory)

Statistical aspects (e.g. weather or aggregated user behaviour)


With the SmartEST Laboratory, AIT possesses a unique infrastructure and assumes a global position through collaborations and interdisciplinary know- how.

This allows hardware tests to be combined with the advantages of the numerical real-time simulation. In „Power Hardware-in-the-Loop“ (P-HIL) simulations, network models are linked to real components in or- der to investigate control algorithms, system con- cepts and components for intelligent power networks under realistic conditions.


The transformation of the energy system and the paradigm shift towards intelligent network operation will influence our lives. At the same time, industry and society demand the highest degree of security of supply. Energy producers are therefore forced to put their network and operating structures to the test and to inquire into new products and services.


One of the biggest challenges here is the newly designed relationship be- tween suppliers and consumers: Whereas large power plant operators alone supplied energy in the past, today it is primarily photovoltaic plants that make power production possible even on a small scale. The consumer thus becomes a producer and also feeds electricity into the distribution net- work. The increased use of renewable sources of energy such as the sun or wind also takes the electricity infrastructure across Europe to its limits. In- telligent networks („Smart Grids“) are to guarantee the secure power sup- ply in the future even with a high proportion of decentralized generation plants. Integrated energy infrastructure planning is therefore essential.


Originally, the distribution networks were not built for today‘s increas- ingly decentralized generation. Therefore, the task now is to operate the existing network infrastructure smarter – i.e. as „Smart Grids“. AIT has succeeded in ensuring that research, network operators and in- dustry are able to know the technical solutions and functions of system concepts and individual basic technologies. This knowledge can be transferred into different pilot projects. The AIT experts know how solu- tions for the integration of renewable energies or solutions for demand side management look like, and they also deal with the question of which large-scale roll-out measures are necessary to implement these approaches – keywords in this context are: Replicability and scalability. The roll-out of intelligent electricity meters, the „smart meters“, plays a role here as well. All these developments go hand in hand.


As far as the network simulation is concerned, AIT is mainly concerned with scenario calculations by means of numerical simulations. This an- alyzes how different technologies functionally and economically affect network sections. In EU projects, network data from the major opera- tors are analyzed and attempts are made to draw up procedures based on this. Ultimately, the big topic is the validation: It takes large-scale demonstration projects to show – on the basis of real operation – that theoretical approaches also work in practice. Only such major demon- stration projects enable further, decisive progress. Energy manage- ment of the future also requires reliable, available basic technologies. R & D activities, particularly in control engineering, as well as the mod- elling of data analytics or the further development of inverter systems are significant approaches here: The important task is to bring more and more decentralized storage production devices to the networks. This requires appropriate research projects, since new technologies must also be fitted into an available cost framework. Thus, AIT is at the vanguard of science and technology development. Last but not least, the AIT experts are engaged in a flagship project of European dimen- sions – the Seestadt Aspern in Vienna. Together with partners such as Siemens, Wien Energie and Wiener Netze, urban energy concepts of tomorrow are evaluated in practice here.

In the SmartEST laboratory at AIT, hardware tests can be combined in a unique way with the advantages of numerical real-time simulation.