VILNIUS - The electricity and gas distribution company Energijos Skirstymo Operatorius (ESO) has initiated a Sandbox project and opened its network infrastructure for the testing of innovations. The German engineering company Siemens was the first to use the possibility to test its smart solutions under development in actual conditions.
Siemens tests a smart electricity network solution in the ESO overhead line in actual conditions – a sensor recording short-circuits or earth in the electricity distribution network and a display of error in the Siemens information cloud.
“Such kind of a sensor should help to detect quickly network malfunction, localise them and quickly restore electricity supply to residents – this is a component of the self-healing network. It is of crucial importance to test it in actual conditions outside, not only in the laboratory,” told Mr. Andrius Stamkauskas, Siemens Product Manager.
Mr. Stamkauskas claims that the possibility to test solutions under development in actual conditions in the operating electricity grid provided by ESO is of special value, as the Lithuanian electricity distribution gird is the closest adequate infrastructure where the solution under development in Germany, Nuremberg, can be applied and tested. In addition, there are very limited number of open national distribution networks allowing testing new technologies in their infrastructure.
All companies creating innovative solutions in the energy field, technology start-ups, universities, and research centres may take part in the Sandbox project of ESO. ESO grants access to the infrastructure free of charge; however, project participants will have to deliver the testing results to ESO specialists.
“By the Sandbox project we seek mutual benefit – our partners may test the technologies under development, whereas we look for technologies we would apply for the solution of problems in our network. With Siemens we have chosen an overhead line in the wooded territory of Čepkeliai state nature reservation where power outages are caused by falling trees. If the partners’ solution shows itself to be workable, the technology should help us to identify short circuits quickly and thus improve the time of our response,” told Mr. Ignas Pranskevičius, Director of ESO Services Unit.
Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) is one of the most important partners of the Sandbox project whereas Dr. Saulius Gudžius, Head of the University’s Electric Power Systems Department of the Faculty of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, has emphasized that the development and installation of new technologies in the energy field is of vital importance.
“KTU prepares energy specialists and has developed innovative technologies for a great number of years. We have laboratories, but is even more important to test the technologies under development in actual conditions. Besides, I think that the Sandbox project will encourage researchers to look for solutions of public interest, develop technologies that improve the lives of all of us, since researchers, being closed in laboratories, frequently lose touch with reality and create inapplicable things,” told Dr. Gudžius.
ESO draws attention that it is easy to participate in the Sandbox project – it is sufficient to prepare a description of the tested technology and fill in an application showing the type of the network infrastructure or data necessary for testing. After preparing a testing plan and signing a cooperation agreement, it will be possible to start the pilot.