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earlyWARN: Monitoring the stability of electricity transmission grids in real time

Researchers from the Institute of Energy Systems and Fluid Engineering (IEFE) at the ZHAW are working with ETH Zurich, Swissgrid and Hitachi Energy AG to develop the "stability monitor" earlyWARN - a safety and early warning system for trans-regional electricity grids. The project is supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy and should be completed by 2026.

With earlyWARN, the IEFE research group Electrical Energy Systems and Smart Grids is developing a real-time security analysis and early warning system for transmission system operators together with the Energy Networks Research Centre at ETH Zurich. Swissgrid, which operates the infrastructure of the supra-regional electricity grids in Switzerland and transports electricity from neighbouring countries through our country, is involved in the development of this dynamic real-time security assessor (rtDSA). Swissgrid itself has to guarantee a stable electricity grid and is therefore interested in tools that contribute to grid stability.

earlyWARN continuously evaluates the dynamic grid stability and can therefore recognise critical conditions at an early stage. This will become increasingly important in the future, as the massive expansion of renewable energies (wind, photovoltaics) will make the demands on grid stability - particularly at the transmission grid level - ever more challenging. This is because the more wind and photovoltaic power is fed into the grid, the more "volatile" electricity production becomes, as the location and quantity of electricity generation can fluctuate greatly on an hourly and seasonal basis.

The project is therefore developing a solution based on artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) that permanently scans the network's key performance indicators (KPIs) and acts as an early warning system for network operators. This makes it possible to quickly initiate preventive measures against unstable network conditions before any damage occurs. In addition, earlyWARN is intended to contribute to stable, autonomous grid control. To this end, earlyWARN will be integrated into the transmission system providers' operations centres as part of the energy management system (SCADA/EMS).

The collaboration with ETH Zurich and Swissgrid ensures that the "stability monitor" meets the practical requirements of the transmission system operators and can be put into practice quickly. Hitachi Energy AG is also on board, contributing its expertise in the scalability of such applications.

With the Grids research programme, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) supports projects that deal with forward-looking concepts and technologies for the planning, operation and maintenance of electrical grids and systems. EarlyWARN is one of the few projects that the SFOE has supported as part of the Grids 2023 call for proposals.


Project manager: Prof. Dr. Petr Korba

Deputy project manager: Dr. Miguel Ramirez Gonzalez

Third-party funder: Bundesamt für Energie (BFE)

Project partners: Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich ETH, Swissgrid AG, Hitachi Energy A