SP4GO - SPace-based services for (4) smart-Grid and electricity grid maintenance and Operations

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The main objectives of the services consist in decision support services based on Satellite Communications, Earth Observation data and other space assets to support smart grids management and electricity grid maintenance.

In particular, the system aims to answer the following general goals:

1. Grid reliability and stability

2. Grid optimized used of energy mix (renewable energies, EV, batteries) taking into account different and new opportunities (prosumers and/or aggregators new business opportunities)

3. Grid O&M optimization

4. Assessment of final customers electrical consumption

5. Back-up network systems to allow secure and reliable inter-TSO/RSC (Regional Security Coordinator) data exchange.

Users and their needs

The services address the following stakeholders:

Distributor System Operators (DSO):

The services involve better smart-grid monitoring and management, optimizing together the several elements of the energy-mix such as renewable-plants, e-vehicles and charging stations, storage, consumption.

Additionally, the services involve better grid electricity infrastructure monitoring and management, supporting O&M activities.

Transmission System Operators (TSO):

The services involve better grid electricity infrastructure monitoring and management, supporting O&M, and secure and reliable data exchange and communication capabilities.

Through ESA’s support, the following entities are involved in the project:

  1. ENTSO-E, the European Network of TSOs, representing 43 TSOs.
  2. Enel Global Infrastructure and Networks S.r.l (Enel Group), a multi-national power utility, with a presence in 37 countries.

User needs

  • Ensure grid stability
  • Ensure secure grid
  • Ensure power lines infrastructure stability
  • Monitor Electric Consumption to detect non-technical losses
  • Ensure backup O&M communication and data exchange
  • Optimize ticketing services

Related operational challenges

  • Manage different grid elements to optimize grid behavior
  • Manage impact of new energy ecosystem elements (ex: e-vehicles, storage, charging stations, demand and response capabilities)
  • Minimize vegetation-related-risks
  • Minimize ice-related risks and costs
  • Minimize lightning-related risks and costs
  • Electric Consumption Estimation
  • Communication backup
  • Optimize planning of inspections’ activities, reducing costs; archiving outcomes and lesson learned

The targeted users are European area based, with multinational companies involved. 

Service/ system concept

Two solutions are envisaged for the specific needs in the two areas: a Smart Grid Decision Support System (DSS) and a Grid Infrastructure Decision Support System (DSS). Each DSS is furtherly broken down into two main components, one focused on the monitoring and managing (what is currently happening), and one focus on the ticketing (what to plan for the future), as reported in the picture: it shows a recap of main input, outputs and users and added value of the services envisaged.

The services can be distinguished by their goal:

  1. Demand/Response optimization
  2. E-mobility element optimization
  3. Conductivity and hot spot measurement
  4. Vegetation monitoring
  5. Electric consumption
  6. Weather events impacts (Ice Load Alarms)
  7. Weather events impacts (Lightning Load Alarms)
  8. Phasor Measurement Units (PMU) synchronization
  9. Satellite backup platform for data and communication exchange

Space Added Value

The following space assets and technologies are envisaged for the integration in the targeted services:

Data from Earth Observation satellites are used in the services as a remote and reliable source of data: archive data are used for energy assessments; quasi real-time data are used for monitoring and for forecasting as a necessary data-inputs.

Telecommunications satellites are used for the specific needs of creating a satellite backup platform for communication and data exchange of O&M operators. The satellite trunk involved in the creation of the backup platform also includes the ground station (gateway and hub) and the VSAT terminal.

Satellite navigation data are used to pinpoint the geolocation of O&M crew operators mobile-phone users, and for geo-positioning RPAS and HAPS acquired data when high-resolution data are needed, and for the calculation of the geo-position of the lightnings.

Current Status

The project is currently at the initial phase. The consortium is contacting stakeholders and receiving feedback on requirements and needs.

The preliminary meetings allowed the consortium to better understand stakeholders needs with respect to early proposed ones.

In the next months, mock-ups will be created to show ideas and facilitate interactions with stakeholders. Based on additional feedbacks, requirements and services will be though and developed accordingly. The feasibility will be assessed both by a technical and an economic point of view, to ensure a final robust and adequate solution.

Prime Contractor


Project Managers

Contractor Project Manager

Fabrizio Ruffini
i-EM S.r.l.
Via Lampredi, 45
57121 Livorno (LI) LI
0039 0586 095801

ESA Project Manager

Beatrice Barresi
Keplerlaan 1
2201 AZ Noordwijk ZH

Status Date

Updated: 25 September 2019 - Created: 25 September 2019