TECNALIA’s offer includes different activities: technological services, testing and certification, research and development projects, transfer of industrial property, business promotion and diversification, and innovation management. Specifically, the Smart Grids Area (within the Energy and Environment Division), is focused on advanced power system architectures, grid flexibility management and operation, integration of distributed energy resources (DER) in the network, demand side management, electric mobility, smart metering applications, and cybersecurity and communications for smart grids.

In addition to the Smart Grid Technologies Laboratory (SGTL) infrastructure offered in ERIGrid 2.0, TECNALIA has a high power laboratory, a high voltage laboratory and a low voltage laboratory for equipment testing, being an accredited laboratory according to EN ISO/IEC 17025 for many testing activities.

Location: Derio, Bilbao, Spain


The core of the Smart Grid Technologies Laboratory (SGTL) is a low voltage three-phase microgrid formed by different generation and storage devices and several loads, with a manageable power of around 200 kVA. Main elements of the microgrid are: generators (PV, diesel, wind turbine, etc.), network simulators, storage devices (flywheel, battery banks, ultracapacitor-based UPS), loads (resistive, inductive, capacitive, electronic loads), and fully configurable power converters (grid-forming and grid-tied capabilities); a microgrid management system controls the operation of the infrastructure to run according to certain strategy, physically connects/disconnects the elements, and changes the microgrid topology, by means of a switching cabinet. The facility allows the research and development on the connection, integration and validation of DER technologies, assessment of the impact on the network, and the investigation on operation and control strategies of the entire microgrid.

In addition, integrated in the microgrid there are four special platforms to reinforce the capabilities in the specific fields of cybersecurity, high power electronics, and smart metering:

  • PHILab: the Power Hardware-in-the-Loop platform is formed by an OPAL-RT Digital  Real Time Simulator for the real-time simulation of complex networks with high penetration of renewable energy sources, and a fast power amplifier (based on Silicon Carbide MOSFET power devices, 50 kVA).
  • Smart Grid Cybersecurity Lab: the platform emulates the real software-hardware communication environment of a primary substation of the distribution grid. It is formed by two sections: (1) the “substation section” contains several IEDs installed in substations for protection and control of breakers, transformers, etc., the Substation Control Unit (SCU), the local substation SCADA, and communication devices; and (2) the “control centre section” contains the main SCADA, communication devices and servers (authentication and timing). Both sections are connected by an Ethernet network (VPN connection). The main SCADA of the Control Centre allows the substation supervision and control, and the management of the IED configurations. The SCU operates also as RTU. Two different acquisition schemes are implemented: direct electrical connections to IEDs, as well as the emulation of several Merging Units (sampled values sent through Ethernet).
  • Implemented protocols: IEC 61850, IEC 60870-5-104, IEC 60870-5-103, Modbus TCP, Modbus RTU, DNP3-TCP, HTTP/HTTPS, NTP/SNTP, LDAP/LDAPS, Web Services (SOAP 1.2, WSDL 1.1), FTP, SSH, Telnet.

  • High power multilevel converter for tests (THOR): medium voltage neutral-point-clamped converter with a modular design. Each individual converter module has a nominal power of 1.25 MW. Up to 4 modules can be parallel connected to achieve a nominal power of 5 MW. It has a programmable output with a range up to 3300 VAC (20 to 70 Hz) and up to 5000 VDC. THOR has been designed promoting the flexibility, thus facilitating the use of this drive in different functionalities such as fully programmable voltage source, grid emulator or current source.
  • Smart Metering Communication Platform: system for research and certification of smart metering communication protocols especially focused on power line communication (PLC) technologies. The entire communication stack is covered, from low layers (like PRIME) to application layers and data model (like DLMS/COSEM). A fully configurable installation reproduces the last mile of distribution network, from the secondary transformer to the meter cabinets. This system allows to change the length and type of the electrical lines, the network topology, the number and type of meters, the network loads, and the network noise and attenuation, in such a way that not only individual meters can be tested (so-called “conformance”) but also entire meter systems (so-called “performance”).

In the Smart Grid Technologies Laboratory of TECNALIA, the architecture and management system of the microgrid and the singular features of the mentioned platforms provide the following services (but not limited to):

  • Development, optimization and testing of smart grid operation and control algorithms.
  • Analysis of grid connected inverters, behaviour in islanding situation and potential contribution to grid stability.
  • Cyber-attacks emulation, assessment of responses of equipment (RTUs, SCUs, IEDs, etc.) and information systems (SCADAs) to cyber-attacks, testing of cyber-attacks detection tools, etc.
  • Individual conformance testing of smart meters and evaluation of the performance of entire smart meter systems under different network configurations (different length and type of the electrical lines, network topology, number and type of meters, network loads, network noise and attenuation).
  • Implementation of algorithms to fit a DC source in order to behave like a renewable resource.
  • Characterization and testing of AC/AC or DC/AC converters, active filters, STATCOMs, energy storage systems, etc.

TECNALIA Research & Innovation (www.tecnalia.com) is a private, independent, non-profit applied research center of international excellence. Legally a Foundation, TECNALIA is the leading private and independent research and development organization in Spain and one of the largest in Europe, employing 1400 experts (including 225 PhDs). TECNALIA is committed to generate major impacts in economic terms, by means of innovation and technological development, addressed by 7 business divisions covering the economic sectors of Energy, Environment, Industry, Transport, Construction, Health and ICT. TECNALIA has been granted over 396 patents and promoted more than 30 spin-off companies.

TECNALIA is very active in national and international platforms and networks: TECNALIA participates in the EERA Joint Programme on Smart Grids, Joint Programme on Marine Energy and leads the Joint Programme e3s on the economic, environmental and social impacts of energy policies and technologies. TECNALIA is involved in ETIP-SNET (European Technology & Innovation Platform Smart Networks for Energy Transition), ISGAN-SIRFN of the International Energy Agency, KIC INNOENERGY, EUREC (European Renewable Energy Centres Agency), ReFINE (Research for Future Infrastructure Networks in Europe), EARTO (European Association of Research and Technology Organisations), SGCG (Smart Grid Coordination Group, M/490), AENOR CTN217 (Spanish Standardisation Organisation, National Technical Committee 217), and FUTURED (Spanish Platform of Electricity Networks). Through these networks TECNALIA contributes to the development of common visions, roadmaps and strategies for the energy sector and having an excellent perspective and vision of the future challenges. This networking structure is complemented by a large experience in national and international research projects on decentralised energy and smart grids.

All the offered experimental systems included in the SGTL are in the same building in Derio, near Bilbao, Spain.

For safety reasons, for most of the applications, the users are not expected to operate the systems by themselves; even when safety instructions and ad-hoc training will be provided, tests will be carried out by staff of TECNALIA. The scheduling of the experiments will be agreed and booked prior to the access according to the availability of the involved staff and equipment.

Administrative documentation for the access (contract, non-disclosure agreement, etc.) will comply with ERIGrid 2.0 common indications. In addition to the general corporate services (Internet connection, canteen, etc.) and the support and advice on accommodation and transportation to TECNALIA’s infrastructure, the access being offered includes supervision and help of TECNALIA’s staff:

  • As a complement to the pre-access contacts between the user group and TECNALIA, the stay will start with an introductory meeting with a senior researcher for confirming the access conditions (confidentiality, safety indications), scheduling the activities, explaining the on-site procedures, clarifying the logistics and technical details.
  • Preparatory work: a laboratory technician will assist the users for the installation of the devices, electrical connections, use of the specific instrumentation, preparation of a test procedure (if necessary) on the basis of the users requests, and programming of the experimental conditions.
  • TECNALIA’s researchers will support the realisation and follow-up of the experiments.
  • TECNALIA’s researchers will support the results interpretation, data processing and analysis, and test report preparation

In principle, a typical access of 1 month is foreseen for a single user group but this period could be extended depending on the concrete user project. The user group (usually 2 persons) can use the infrastructure for the defined time.

Reimbursement of expenses:

User expenses for the lab access are paid by ERIGrid 2.0 (EU H2020 Programme). This includes travels to SGTL (TECNALIA) by plane, accommodation, daily subsistence, and daily transportation during the stay.

For the user projects taking place in SGTL, TECNALIA will refund the stay expenses when the access is finished: the user must declare the incurred expenses and present the invoices/receipts to TECNALIA in order to get the refund.

Logical expenses must be made by the user: travels will be made in economy class and conventional hotels (not luxury) or equivalent accommodation will be used. Lunch will be provided at TECNALIA’s canteen free to the user.

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