Our Projects

We collaborate with the energy actors on exciting innovations.

At Elia Group, we collaborate with companies, governments, start-ups and academics on exciting innovations.

Discover what we’ve been working on. We do not innovate alone. We work with our partners seeking innovative solutions everywhere.

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  1. IEC61850 Engineering Process Common Vision Case Study
    The Engineering Process Common Vision provides users with a shared view of IEC61850 engineering from the perspective of a number of different organisations. It provides stakeholders with a strong signal as a more flexible, efficient and standardised engineering process is adopted.
    The common vision aims to become an industry-supported and standardised top-down engineering solution that removes private user- or vendor-specific engineering solutions, enabled through TR IEC61850-90-30 and TR IEC61850-7-6 ed2.
    A number of leading organisations share this vision, as exemplified by the logos which are visible at the bottom of the statement. Their purpose is to encourage the development of required products (including new tools for specification, configuration, testing and simulation), avoiding the need for costly and time-consuming custom developments.
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  2. ReBeam protocol allows EV drivers to choose their energy retailer at public charging stations Case Study
  3. Machine learning to optimize the success rate of offshore maintenance voyages Case Study
  4. Digital monitoring of SCOF cables Case Study
  5. Using Artificial Intelligence to reduce costs Case Study
  6. The automatic creation of Switching Notes Case Study
  7. Forecasting deterministic frequency deviations using artificial intelligence Case Study
  8. Predictive Asset Management to avoid incidents with energy not supplied on aged asset systems. Case Study
  9. DARE – Dynamic daily dimensioning of reserve needs Case Study
  10. Use of UAVs and AI to determine health index of overhead lines Case Study
  11. Simplify – Advanced Machine Learning to support dispatching Case Study
    Started in September 2019. Delivery postponed to 2021 due to regulator’s decisions.
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  12. Market integration of electric vehicles using blockchain technology Case Study
  13. The Nest – Incubation Factory Case Study
  14. Synapse: innovative operational planning enabled by Advanced Analytics Case Study
    Building tomorrow's infrastructure and maintaining Elia’s grid and its equipment is crucial to guarantee the security of electricity supply for several million consumers. The energy landscape is in full transition and brings with it many challenges, such as the emergence of new constraints. These are the result of decentralized and intermittent production, aging assets and an interconnected European grid.

    The Synapse program aims to thoroughly rethink how our teams will plan, prepare and execute works.
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  15. Open data Case Study
    We want to enable that Elia and all companies in the energy sector can optimize their processes and improve the quality of services for the end consumer. Stimulating economic growth and spurring innovation to address societal challenges with the development of innovative solutions based on the data we expose.  
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  16. Fast grid topology reconfiguration Case Study
    AATO – Advanced Analytics for Topology Optimisation researches the application of reinforcement learning for the complex grid topology optimisation problem.

    Today only highly experienced system operators, backed by trial-and-error simulations, are able to perform fast topology reconfigurations. However mainly based on what is known to work, potentially better actions are left untested.
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  17. Flexity – Enabling end-consumer to contribute in the energy transition Case Study
    FLEXITY enables end-consumer to participate in the energy transition by unlocking flexibility at household level. Domestic consumption is optimized based on time of use principles and additional value is generated by participation in various market segments (wholesale, balancing).
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  18. Acoustic sensors to monitor critical assets (OIC 2019) Case Study
    Together with OKTO Acoustics, the winner of the Elia Open Innovation challenge, we are testing an intelligent acoustic sensing system to improve the monitoring of our critical asset infrastructure. Over a period of 3 months (October – December 2019), smart acoustic sensors from OKTO Acoustics are installed to monitor the cooling system of the Nemolink HVDC converter station. The highly scalable and distributed nature of the sensing system as well as the AI algorithm behind the sensors promises a variety of use cases for Elia.
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  19. SAFIR | U-space drone demonstrations Case Study
    The SAFIR consortium, a group of 13 public and private organisations, has been selected by Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) to demonstrate integrated Drone Traffic Management for a broad range of drone operations in Belgium. The goal of the SAFIR project is to contribute to the EU regulatory process for drones and drive forward the deployment of interoperable, harmonised and standardised drone services across Europe.
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  20. Sensa – Define your comfort level, we take care of the rest Case Study
    Sensa project has been designed and shaped in the context of the IO.Energy Ecosystem.
    Day & night energy prices were introduced at a time it was needed to incentivize consumption at night and during the weekends. Although well integrated in the consumption habits, it doesn't match anymore with the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources.
    The idea of Sensa project is to develop a version 2.0 of such a pricing, real-time , incentivizing the consumers to support the system needs (balancing of the grid, congestion management, auto-consumption, etc). Prices are designed to target the desired reaction level (depends on the needs), using AI / machine learning algorithms.
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  21. BestGrid – Greater transparency through cooperation Case Study
    The expansion of the electricity grid is a decisive component of the energy transition, not only in Germany but in all of Europe. During grid development projects, the project developers are often accused of a lack of transparency in the planning and realization. This creates political and public pressure on the projects, resulting in higher project costs and delays in the grid development required for the energy transition.
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  22. CompactLine Case Study
    50Hertz conducted a research on compact overhead lines and developed a brand new design called compactLine. In 2015 mechanical and electrical tests had been carried out. They resulted in a global novelty. After a test period in 2018 and 2019 compactLine could enrich the possibilities for electricity transmission.
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  23. Using electric vehicles to balance the network Case Study
    Throughout 2018 and 2019, Elia Group’s Innovation department realized a project in which the main goal was to integrate electric vehicles into the high voltage services market. Notably, Elia tested the bidirectional Vehicle to Grid technology, enabling to charge and discharge the vehicle at home or at the office.
    After two years of recruiting drivers, setting up algorithms and communication channels, gathering data and analyzing it, we can conclude that almost no technical barriers remain before electric vehicles can be an integral part of the Belgian balancing services market.
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  24. Windnode
    The showcase for smart energy from the north-east of Germany.   The wind and sun can provide a lot of energy. But their output cannot be planned. Nevertheless, ever more energy consumers rely on variable sources or their own generating or storage units. The success of the energy transition therefore depends on a permanent and optimal coordination of generation and consumption. This is only possible by creating extensive smart grids, in which all system participants can communicate with each other in almost real time through an “Internet of Energy”.   The WindNODE partner project supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) gathers over 70 partner companies and offers an ideal basis to realise such system innovations. The partner network represents all stakeholders of the energy industry, so that direct development feedback can be generated. You can find more information at: www.windnode.de
  25. Improve forecasting of electricity production and consumption (OIC 2018) Case Study
    In 2018, after a successful first edition that resulted in a tool that is currently used to improve our public acceptance, Elia Group launched its second Open Innovation Challenge for startups. The contest is one of the ways for Elia Group to accelerate innovation, by creating synergies with startups or small agile businesses. It helps the Belgian grid operator and the German operator 50Hertz to face the challenges of the energy transition that are drastically changing the energy landscape.
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  26. Local Inertia Case Study
    The Local Inertia project studies phenomena related to inertia distribution that can have a significant impact on the operation of the power grid. Following the replacement of synchronous rotating machines by renewable energy sources, the total inertia on the grid is decreasing. While this reduction does not yet pose an immediate risk to the grid, it does raise issues in terms of inertia distribution.
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  27. A Consumer Centric system Case Study
    With the energy transition and the digitalization of the sector underway, it is clear that consumers are calling for energy services that deliver more value and comfort and that this will become a driving force in itself soon. Until now, this trend has been very much underestimated by many market players. However, Elia Group believes we are on the verge of a new era where energy as a service will breakthrough dramatically. A consumer-centric system is the logical evolution in the interest of society and of frontrunners looking for opportunities to deliver more comfort and flexibility.
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  28. Osmose: improving flexibility integration Case Study
    Osmose is a project supported by the European Commission that will run for four years, aiming to achieve a reduction of barriers in order to better capture the potential of these upcoming sources of flexibility. The project searches synergies across needs (energy markets, system services, grid flow control...) and sources of flexibility (renewable generation, demand response, grid, storage...) by identifying multiple parallel applications in order to maximize the cost efficiency of the system.
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  29. Drone Inspection Automation Case Study
    To ensure reliable transmission of electricity, Elia performs visual inspections of its infrastructure. When it comes to towers and overhead lines, Elia usually combines 3 types of inspections: patrolling on the ground, climbing the towers or using a helicopter to fly over the lines to obtain a full perspective on the asset’s conditions. Climbing, however, is a considerable safety risk for the person performing the inspection and is also a cumbersome activity. Using helicopters also does not provide the same detail one would get from a climbing inspection. While performing those inspections a quantity of pictures and data is collected that need to be analysed to initiate some actions.
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  30. InnoDC: training researchers for the energy transition Case Study
    InnoDC is a consortium of 14 partners from industry, academia and the third sector offering a development path to researchers across Europe in the area of offshore wind and Direct Current (DC) grids.

    Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program, it will train 15 early stage researchers enrolled at the partner universities, on offshore wind power and DC grids, preparing them for their role in the energy transition.
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  31. Building flexibility for the energy market with blockchain Case Study
    The modern energy landscape needs to integrate increasingly decentralised and flexible energy sources. As renewables come to make up a greater percentage of the market, there will be more intermittency in supply - and at the same time, central generation will be less available (nuclear, gas, coal).

    As a result, we’ll see an enormous hike in the number of transactions, as a greater share of flexibility will come from smaller assets. This increase in transactions may be a significant operational challenge, especially for contracting and settlement with new parties. If we are to build an energy system ensuring future flexibility and reliability, we need to integrate new technologies more scalable today.
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  32. SARQA VR Case Study
    Our Innovation teams, together with internal experts and field technicians, worked with an external partner who developed the virtual substations based on real plans drawn by our designer team.
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  33. R2 Wind: Exploring wind farms’ contribution to balancing Case Study
    This pilot project investigated the technical capability of wind farms to regulate their power infeed in real-time to balance the active power in the grid (in collaboration with Eneco, WindVision and Enercon).
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  34. Advanced Machine Learning to support dispatching Case Study
    Keeping the balance in the grid is essential: the injection of power must always be equal to the consumption in order to keep the frequency at 50Hz. Due to renewable energy integration, the system is getting more and more complex and it is becoming essential to be able to forecast imbalances at very short term.
    We are creating a model to detect the correlation between the different parameters influencing the System Imbalance and forecasting the System Imbalance over the next 15 min to hour.
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  35. How to improve public acceptance of our infrastructure? (OIC 2017) Case Study
    In 2016, Elia first organised the Start-Up/Open Innovation Challenge in order to identify start-ups that are proposing tools to enhance public acceptance of infrastructure projects. The contest was won by Gilytics, a Zurich-based start-up.
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  36. Distributed Flexibility Case Study
    Elia needs to find alternative sources of flexibility from installations connected to distribution systems in order to ensure grid security in the most cost efficient way. Elia is therefore involved in different projects studying and demonstrating smart ways of exploring flexibility, even for small consumers in the residential sector.
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  37. BidLadder: Opening the market for new technologies Case Study
    In the past, non-reserved tertiary reserves (so called “free balancing bids”) were exclusively flexible volumes mainly coming from large (spinning) power generation units (>25MW). The Bidladder project opened up this market of non-reserved R3 towards smaller units and demand response, in order to create a level playing field for all technologies to compete, both for TSO and DSO-connected assets.
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  38. 3D Printing Case Study
    Our 3D printing project has focused on detecting opportunities for 3D printing in Elia’s warehouse. The aim is to find cost-effective ways to deliver high quality spare parts as and when they are needed.
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  39. Spatial Imagery: better infrastructure information Case Study
    Drones, photogrammetry, LIDAR, ground penetrating radar and more. New technologies with a spatial component are arriving at Elia, bringing both challenges and opportunities.
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  40. ORKA 2 – Improvement of renewable feed-in forecasts
    This project proposal seamlessly continues the successful work of the ORKA group to significantly improve both the renewable feed-in forecasts and the underlying weather forecasts of the German Weather Service (DWD) for the purposes of grid operations management and grid security calculation.   A new important field of application is added: the use of ensemble data to predict the current-carrying capacity of overhead lines. It is implemented in close cooperation with the DWD and system operators 50Hertz Transmission (transmission system) and Avacon (distribution system).   In the current ORKA project, significant initial progress was already made with regard to the ensemble forecast model COSMO-DE-EPS of the DWD for critical weather situations, as well as major progress in the integration of ensemble forecasts for grid node-specific RES feed-in in grid security calculations. Given the complex issues in modelling the atmospheric boundary layer, the generation of reliable ensembles and the embedding of probabilistic capacity forecasts in existing algorithms for grid security calculation, there are still great challenges in these fields that are the subject of this project proposal. An important new theme is the short term forecasts of current-carrying capacity on overhead lines, i.e. the maximum admissible current without excessive sagging or a thermal overload of the conductor, which at present does not yet have an application in grid operations management. Considering that, for instance, the wind also provides better cooling of the lines in case of a high wind power feed-in, a high potential for the better use of existing grid infrastructure can be created so that larger RES volumes can be tapped into in critical situations.
  41. NETZ:KRAFT – Grid restoration in view of future power plant structures
    Grid restoration (Netzwiederaufbau, NWA) is only needed in extreme situations in the supply system. It is an ancillary service that is provided and coordinated by the transmission system operator (TSO) responsible for the system.   The research project follows two main lines of action: on the one hand, the further development of the available NWA concepts of the TSOs, taking into consideration the behavior of renewable energy installations and on the other hand, basic studies on the possibilities to actively use decentralized generation in supply islands of the distribution system operators (DSOs) to reduce the outage times. The objective is to include renewables in the NWA process with or possibly also without enabling voltage setting.   You can find more information here.
  42. SysDL 2.0 – Ancillary services by decentralised generating units
    The focus of the research project is to develop and practically validate system-technical principles for a coordinated provision of decentralised ancillary service (AS) primary products.   The AS production is generated by third-party generating units (GU) connected to the distribution system. The research is performed within the distribution systems by ENSO NETZ, Mitnetz & TEN, taking into account the company-specific grid topologies. As a basis for the studies in SysDL 2.0, grid-stabilising voltage, active and reactive power correcting options for certain specific applications are determined at defined transfer points between 50Hertz and the distribution system operators.   The grid operation strategies to be developed by technology group SIEMENS in close cooperation with several research institutes (also referred to as SysDL 2.0 modes) are based on the (currently) available decentralised resources of third-party GUs.   You can find more information here.
  43. EWeLiNE/ORKA – Improvement of weather forecasts
    Creation of innovative weather and capacity forecast models for the grid integration of weather-dependent energy sources / Optimisation of ensemble forecasts of renewable feed-in for the short-term range using the example of the grid security calculations.   In the next years and decades, a fundamental transformation will take place in the power supply in Germany and around the globe. The objective is a sustainable supply based on renewable energy, especially of wind and solar power. Due to the weather-dependent nature of electricity generated from wind and sun, this will lead to a thorough change in the entire electricity supply system. In order to ensure a cost-efficient and secure operation of the electricity supply system with a high share of renewable, weather-dependent energy, precise and local weather forecasts are needed.   In the R&D project ORKA, an existing ensemble system (COSMO-DE_EPS) of the German Weather Service, which works with high-resolution ensemble forecasts, was developed further to support secure grid operation.   The R&D project EWeLiNE targeted the development of a software reference architecture that should serve as a generally applicable basis that can also be understood by third parties not involved in the project and that can be reused. As such, further developments in this field should also be supported.   You can find results and more information here.
  44. SDL-Batt – Ancillary services and energy storage by means of large batteries
    Ancillary services (AS or SDL in German) and energy storage using large batteries to stabilise grids with high shares of RES - concept and demonstration.   How can a battery storage unit for a control power plant be developed further? This was the central question for the researchers of the SDL-Batt project. The further development of a highly efficient battery storage unit for control power plants or to provide grid stabilization services was the focus of the partner project. In the scope of the project, different ancillary services were studied and partly tested, documented and their cost-efficiency was compared. The provision of control power and other ancillary services as well as the developments and tests this requires, were used as the basis for an innovative 10 MW Li-ion battery system. Operational data, energy balancing, legal and regulatory framework conditions and simulations of various operation modes were paramount to the research.   You can find the results and more information here
  45. ReWP/PV-Regel – Control power from wind and solar
    In order to guarantee the security of supply, the transmission system operator provides ancillary services. One of these ancillary services is frequency control, provided through control power.   The installations that provide the control power restore the balance between production and consumption, so that the target grid frequency can be maintained. Currently, control power is mostly supplied by conventional power plants. However, because of the energy transition, the conventional power stations are being replaced by renewable energy, mainly from fluctuating sources. The objective of the ReWP project was therefore to develop tools and procedures that enable the optimal use of wind and solar farms to provide control power in view of the cost-efficiency and security of the electricity system. The PV-Regel project studied in which form the different photovoltaic systems, from small private units to large outdoor photovoltaic power stations, can contribute to the supply of control power in the future. It furthermore described which role these photovoltaic systems could play in the future for grid restoration.   You can find the results and more information at:
  46. GridCast
    In the scope of the GridCast research project, the Fraunhofer Institut für Windenergie und Systemtechnik (IWES) and the German Weather Service (DWD) work together with system operators to develop new methods to better determine the maximum possible (offer-dependent) and actual wind and solar power feed-in at random grid nodes of the German power grid as well as the feed-in to be expected in the next hours or days.   The methods have been specifically adapted to provide system operators with optimised input data and information on uncertainty factors for their real-time and forward-looking grid security calculations.   At first, the methods will also explicitly take measures into account that lead to a reduced feed-in into the gird and that are not primarily determined by the weather. One of the project’s main strengths is the consideration of the entire process chain: (1) from the analysis and processing of potentially available measuring data, (2) over the optimised weather forecast adjusted to the energy industry and Nowcasting models of the DWD, (3) and building on this, over the IWES models to calculate the current and future wind and solar feed-in to be expected at random grid nodes, (4) up to the use in grid management by transmission and distribution system operators.   You can find more information here.