The energy reform poses new challenges for the Swiss electricity grid. In-depth research and development work is needed to prepare the transmission grid for the future. Swissgrid cooperates with universities to develop the new technologies and methods required to enable the efficient and secure transmission of energy.
The expansion and modernisation of the Swiss electricity grid is one of Swissgrid's most important tasks. It is vital to ensure that Switzerland continues to have a secure supply of electricity in the future.
Therefore, we’re looking for bright minds. Swissgrid supports research projects, theses and offers internships. We are interested in research on the following topics:
- Automation/digitalisation in system operations and in asset management
- New technologies/methods for energy transmission
- Ensuring the stability of the grid
- Increasing public acceptance for grid projects (modernisation and expansion)
In future, electricity generation will become less flexible and more difficult to predict due to the increase in new renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind power. This development presents challenges for transmission system operators, who need to ensure a balance between production and consumption.
With the crowd balancing platform «Equigy», Swissgrid has launched a pilot project in Switzerland that targets the use of storage technologies in the area of primary control energy. The goal of the project is to balance short-term fluctuations in the transmission grid with the support of small decentralised energy sources, such as energy storage systems, electric cars, battery storage devices and heat pumping technology.
3D Decision Support System
Where will a new line run? Which area is suitable, which less so? The 3D Decision Support System project developed by ETH Zurich aims to answer these questions and find the line route that is most widely accepted by the stakeholders.
To do so, the system considers the interests of the parties affected and provides a three-dimensional view of the different solutions.
In this way, the 3D Decision Support System greatly facilitates the planning of lines and makes project planning more efficient and transparent. Swissgrid uses the system to erect new lines.
More capacity on transmission lines
The Swiss electricity grid has a number of congestion points. To eliminate these, greater transfer capacity is required. However, the construction of new lines is not always accepted by the parties affected. As an alternative, Swissgrid endeavours to optimise the transfer capacity of existing lines.
The «Hybrid Overhead Lines in Switzerland» research project being carried out by ETH Zurich is investigating the extent to which the combination of direct and alternating current systems increases the transfer capacity of existing 380 kV overhead lines. Calculations show that the capacity of hybrid overhead lines is 50 percent higher than that of conventional lines.
The ETH research project not only considers the technical aspects of the different systems but also evaluates their cost-efficiency and social acceptance.
Energyscape - Focus on the landscape
Wind power plants or transmission lines change the landscape significantly. But what infrastructure fits into which landscape? And to what extent is it accepted by the parties affected? – The ETH «Energyscape» project aims to construct electricity infrastructure where acceptance is greatest. To do so, it creates acoustic/visual simulations of infrastructure in characteristically Swiss landscapes.
Smart Grids - Intelligent grids
More and more electricity is being produced locally. It primarily comes from renewable sources, such as wind and solar power plants. Production is difficult to plan and is subject to fluctuations.
That's why Smart Grids are needed. They ensure that electricity producers and consumers are in constant communication – and balance fluctuations in production and consumption. In doing so, Smart Grids help to ensure reliable and efficient operation.
An important part of Smart Grids is intelligent measuring systems called Smart Meters. They help save electricity and improve energy efficiency. Intelligent measuring systems are part of the federal government's Energy Strategy 2050.