IDE4L - Ideal Grid for All

  IDE4L consortium Copyright: © IDE4L

IDE4L is a 3 year demonstration project funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Program. The project will prove that active electrical distribution networks are manageable and can even achieve better reliability and continuity of service.


Project partners are designing and developing the next generation automation architecture for distribution grids that enables ancillary services from distributed energy resource (DER) providers and technical and commercial aggregators. An array of new solutions for monitoring, control, and network planning, are designed, developed, prototyped and tested in the laboratories of universities and research centers, and in the field, hosted by the partner Distribution System Operators (DSO) in Italy, Spain and Denmark.

The architecture

ACS is leading the development of automation concept and architecture. A comprehensive automation concept, which was extracted with the Use Case Methodology from the synthesis of the use cases of all the new applications in IDE4L. This includes the interaction of other stakeholders besides the DSO, namely the Transmission System Operator (TSO), Commercial Aggregator and Service Providers.

Then the architecture to support the use cases is developed in the Smart Grid Architecture Model (SGAM) and constitutes the common background for consistent and interoperable IDE4L applications. The SGAM framework is ready to be filling out with the details based on existing standards, in particular the IEC 61850 series and CIM. If existing standards prove to be insufficient, the project partners will formulate a suggestion for extension.

The architecture is at the same time hierarchical and distributed (e.g. power control is realized at LV, MV and control center level in a coordinated manner), it is modular (independent definitions for data, communications and functions) and reusable (based on standards and standardized development procedures).

  IDE4L Demo diagram Copyright: © Institute ACS, RWTH Aachen



Ferdinanda Ponci

Teaching and Research Area Monitoring and Distributed Control for Power Systems


+49 241 80-49702



How we operatively develop the architecture

Use cases of the applications are formalized as “detailed use cases” in the SGAM template, thus extending the first description. In parallel a semantic model is formulated to express the physical implementation. This means that sequences of operations, triggers, etc. are well defined and allocated to physical devices. Communication interfaces, functions and devices are, in turn, defined in terms of the IEC 61850 standards. Merging these sets of information means determining for each step of each application what functions are accessed, what data is generated or needed, according to what data model, by what device, and communicated with what protocol. The synthesis of these details yields the IDE4L architecture. At the end of the project the UML and semantic models will be provided, together with an instance of standardized implementation.

The IDE4L architecture will be a solid reference for European distribution grids, subject of course to local adaptations but able to accommodate the foreseeable automation needs of the next decade.

Application development and demonstration activities

ACS is also involved in the definition of monitoring requirements, and extensively involved in the demonstrations, serving as real-time laboratory for integration and testing, by hosting Hardware-in-the-Loop tests evaluating some of the IDE4L Key Performance Indicators.

In particular, the platform will test real time monitoring, state estimators, secondary and tertiary control strategies, Aggregator validation. These demonstrations will be carried out using models of the distribution grids of partner DSOs, thus yielding a key support prior to field deployment, and creating testing conditions that are not physically possible in the field.




Prof. Ponci, Andrea Angioni and Gianluca Lipari participated to IDE4L Final Review in Bruxelles on December 13th.


The participants of IDE4L project meet in the offices of Unareti distribution System Operator in Brescia, Italy, to discuss the demonstration phase and to discuss the status of the project with the EU officer. Prof. Ponci, presented on the 18th the architecture for smart grid at the public event named “IDE4L Symposium” with hundreds of guests from European academy and industry.


The meeting is organized as follows:
WP Workshops
Review of Status and Progresses and of Dissemination Activities
Implementation Committee (IC) meeting
Steering Committee (SC) meeting
Advisory Board meeting

  EU flag Copyright: © European Union

This project is funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no.608860.