Poland rolling out smart grid infrastructure

To enhance the effectiveness and security of the electrical energy distribution network in seven Polish provinces, energy distribution system operator Energa is implementing smart grid infrastructure. It will reduce energy consumption and allow residents to see in real time how much electricity they are using.

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The SCADA control system used to monitor the smart grid ©Energa-Operator SA The SCADA control system used to monitor the smart grid ©Energa-Operator SA

" The installed disconnectors, along with the remote control, will significantly improve the transmission and distribution of energy. Replacing obsolete devices with newer or new ones, in a place where it will be effective, will result in lower network failure rate and, consequently, shorter and less frequent power outages to end users. It is not without significance to increase the resistance of the power grid to extreme weather conditions, improve the technical condition of the network, and introduce innovative solutions – all of which will reduce the costs of energy infrastructure operation. "

Piotr Dorawa, President of the Management Board of Energa-Operator SA

The seven provinces are Łódzkie, Wielkopolskie, Zachodniopomorskie, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Mazowieckie, Pomorskie, Warmińsko-Mazurskie. This is Poland’s largest project for developing smart electricity distribution networks. When completed in 2021, the grids will meet international smart grid standards.

Other advantages of the project are enhanced resistance to extreme weather and better options for connecting to more sustainable energy sources. For the 2 980 422 inhabitants connected to the new smart grids, this means less network failures, increased security of supply, and a better quality of life.

Improving efficiency and customer satisfaction 

The system has several components, including: grid automation (switch disconnectors and switchgears); radio supervision systems; an IT control system that uses networked data communications and graphical user interfaces for grid supervisory management; and an energy storage system to stabilise the operation of the distribution system. Together, these features not only ensure that consumers are accurately billed, but get real-time energy use data they can use to improve their energy efficiency – and lower their bill.

The project is integrating a range of technologies and sensors into the energy system. Through these features, the project hopes to improve the automation of the electricity distribution network. Project coordinators say this automation will help improve customer service. For example, the installed technologies will enable the distribution system to remotely identify grid failures and restore services to effected customers in less than three minutes – a level of efficiency that is sure to improve customer satisfaction. 

Energy savings

The project is expected to considerably improve the efficiency of energy distribution in Poland. In total, the new smart grid system is expected to reduce primary energy consumption by 1 054.11 GJ/year, resulting in savings of 97.60 MWh/year.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Aligning the transmission network with the Smart Grid standard by deploying smart metering and grid automation to activate customers in order to increase the efficiency of energy consumption and improve the security of supplies through effective management of the electricity system” is EUR 56 040 808 (PLN 240 600 300), with the EU’s Cohesion Fund contributing EUR 38 725 408 (PLN 166 260 000) through the “Infrastructure and Environment” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Energy Union and Climate”.