The Data of the Future: Tecnalia on ICTs and DERs

Which role will ICT and data management play in future services provided by subjects in distribution? We asked Tecnalia, Partner of the SmartNet Project.

The deployment of smart grids is closely related to the use of ICTs for network operation. ICTs provide higher levels of visibility and controllability in distribution networks and this permits a more flexible response to face the different network conditions.

From the point of view of the owners of Distributed Energy Resources (DER), ICTs provide a close relationship with network operators and actors such as aggregators, who will become essential to integrate small capacity systems in energy market structures.

The enhanced flexibility of networks and the integration of DERs facilitated by ICTs open the possibility for assets in the distribution network to provide services at both local and system levels.

As a result of the above, communication needs are expected to increase in distribution networks. This poses several challenges for ICTs in terms of performance, security, efficiency and interoperability. However, technologies and standardization efforts continue to evolve and it is expected that ICT solutions will be able to meet the technical requirements of future networks. However, if the previously mentioned features are not observed and if an optimum design of systems is not carried out, cost limitations may arise and hinder severely the deployment of ICTs.

A unique ICT solution for network services provision is unlikely, i.e. solutions must be tailored to the specific characteristic of services. The exchange of information should be limited to the strictly necessary but, at the same time, communication systems should be flexible enough to allow for future extensions and technology updates.

About Tecnalia

TECNALIA is a private, non-profit technological research and innovation center based in Spain, resulted from the merging of several research centers of the Basque Country. For more information, visit the website