The project Service-based Open-source Grid automation platform for Network Operation of the future (SOGNO) is creating plug-and-play, cloud-native, micro-services to implement our next generation of data-driven monitoring and control systems. It will simplify the life of distribution utilities by enabling them to optimize their network operations through open source to deliver cost-effectively, and seamless, secure power supply for their customers. SOGNO introduces the idea of grid automation as a modular system in which components can be added through time. This is in opposition to classical monolithic solutions.

 SOGNO is maturing data-driven control services. The architecture is independent of the communication media but it has been designed originally to have 5G in mind and its edge cloud approach. By using the upcoming 5G mobile network standard they will be characterized by low latency and high availability.

Power system networks of the future will be composed of assets whose profiles may shift between loads, resources, and the ability to provide flexibility back to the grid. This will have a transformational impact on the operation of the distribution system and its relationship to transmission and utility generation. Reinforcing the current system is not sufficient to deal with the increasing complexity of distribution systems. Rather, we are at the cusp of needing deployment of advanced distribution management systems down to the low voltage network. These solutions can be implemented as centralized but even better as distributed architecture to better support the sparsity of distribution grids.

SOGNO –  which means “dream” in Italian – facilitates network operators in the transition to a modular microservices-based control center software solution.  Our vision is to integrate today’s SCADA systems with SOGNO and then to gradually move functionalities into microservices. As a result, SOGNO is not in opposition to classical solutions but it can be seen as an add-on that supports a flexible growth of the automation architecture. This allows operators to adapt faster with components that can be updated independently from each other while recognizing the “brown field” that most utilities continue to operate in. SOGNO provides system operators and automation software developers a pathway to the future through an open source framework that exposes open APIs that plug-in new automation functions, while supporting industry standards such as CIM IEC61970.

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SOGNO enables automation functions to be developed as components of the core project, as new functionality contributed upstream, or as separate projects that are compatible with the interfaces defined in SOGNO. 

Automation functions are run as containerized microservices that communicate with other services using, for example, a message broker or HTTP. Since the microservices are decoupled, users can select the SOGNO services that fit their use case and easily integrate them with their own platform or run the entire SOGNO suite and integrate their own functionalities as microservices.

The first tranche of automation functionalities include:

  • state-estimation
  • load prediction
  • voltage control

SOGNO packages these services to be readily used within Kubernetes, either in a cloud environment or at the edge using a lightweight Kubernetes distribution.

With the integration of real-time simulation, the SOGNO project supports seamless integration of development, testing, and deployment. New automation functionalities can be developed and thoroughly tested against a virtual real-time representation of the power system before deployment. 

The real-time simulator, DPsim, is able to send measurements at the same pace as they would be collected from field devices and reacts to control signals coming from automation software in the same time frame as real grid devices. Besides, the simulator integrated with SOGNO uses the MQTT protocol to send and receive messages, which is widely used for IoT applications. This way, it is possible to test the closed-loop behavior of new automation functions before connecting them to actual grid devices.

The History of SOGNO

SOGNO is grateful for the initial funding it received from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 774613. While this project has concluded, RWTH ported to LFE everything that was developed internally or was already open source.

As part of the Horizon 2020 project, the SOGNO architecture has been deployed to distribution system sites belonging to ESB in Ireland (Kerry and Waterford, https://www.sogno-energy.eu/). Other demos of the SOGNO architecture have been performed also in Romania as part again of the same EU project. The SOGNO architecture is going to be used by the three trial sites of the PlatOne (https://platone-h2020.eu/) project in Germany (near Bremen), Greece (near Athens) and Italy (Rome). A running version is also active on the campus of RWTH Aachen University supporting the monitoring of the distribution grid within the university.