Towards flexible, reliable and stable smart grids

News - 14 December 2016


‘The power system is the backbone of the industrialized world. Currently, the power system experiences a dramatic transition from a hierarchical, static structure to something more distributed and dynamic’, says prof. Peter Palensky. ‘The reasons are manifold, but integration of renewable, clean energy sources such as solar and wind, is the main driving force behind that development. This new version of the power system comes with a number of challenges. Processes get quicker, structures more complicated, options more diverse. This ultimately leads to increased complexity, which is not what we want from such an important pillar of our lives.’

Smart grids

‘To tackle this increased complexity, we need smart grids’, says Palensky. ‘Smart grids are electricity networks that can intelligently integrate the behaviour and actions of all units connected to it – generators, consumers and those that do both – in order to match the demand and the supply of electricity in an efficient, sustainable, economic and secure way.’


‘As so often, we have to fight fire with fire: complex automation and information technology is used to master the complexity of the future power system. More knowledge and information, processed quicker, and used by a community of intelligent grid participants, is the key for reliability, affordability, and sustainability. ICT transforms the power system from a dedicated machine to a flexible platform that is expected to host the power applications of the future.’


In order to design and validate such applications, we need a better understanding of hybrid – ICT and physical – systems. ‘Basically we have good scientific models for the physics involved in power grids and we also have good models for the ICT involved in it. We now needs models that combine these two elements. I work on modeling and understanding complex cyber-physical power systems, in order to develop the power system applications of the future.’


‘Additionally, electricity can serve as bridge between all types of energy. Trends like ‘power to gas’ or ‘power to heat’ show that the a smart grid can serve as backbone of an integrated energy system, where the advantages of different media complement each other. All this is complemented by interactive energy markets that serve as platforms to trade power, energy, and flexibility. The key to all this is a flexible, highly automated, reliable and stable smart grid.’

More information

Prof. Peter Palensky (Intelligent Electrical Power Grids, TU Delft), +31 15 2788341
Sharita Balgobind (persvoorlichter TU Delft), +31 15 2781588