System approach applying the Smart Energy domain

Smart Energy systems

In the current context, a system is a typical industry arrangement of components and systems, based on a single architecture, serving a specific set of use cases.

Here are, below, the systems which have been considered in this approach, and which de facto form the set of the Smart Energy systems.

This list is actually made of three types of systems:

  • domain specific systems (Generation, Transmission, Distribution, DER, Customer Premises)
  • function specific systems (usually crossing domain borders) (Marketplace systems, Demand flexibility systems, Smart metering systems, Weather observation and forecast systems)
  • other systems usually focusing on administration features (asset management, clock reference, communication management, device management, etc.)

This list of systems is displayed onto the SGAM plane in the figure on the left.

Table of Smart Energy systems

Domain or Function


Brief introduction/comments


Generation management system (Bulk)

Generation management system is the control centre for Bulk or Large renewable generation plant.

Even if there may be some specificities for each of these, the rest of the document will mostly merge both into one system type.

Generation management system (Large Renewable)


Substation automation system

Refer to Distribution


Blackout prevention – WAMS Wide Area Monitoring Protection and control systems

Real-time blackout prevention systems, usually based on measure coming from phase measurement units


EMS SCADA system

The Energy Management System (EMS) is the control centre for the Transmission Grid. Today customers require an open architecture to enable an easy IT integration and a better support to avoid blackouts (e.g. visualization of the grid status, dynamic network stability analysis).


FACTS (Flexible AC Transmission Systems) and HVDC links and back-to-back Systems

Power Electronics is among the “actuators” in the power grid. Systems like FACTS enable actual control of the power flow and can help to increase transport capacity without increasing short circuit power.

HVDC links and Back-to-back systems enable actual control of the power flow even in unsynchronized AC system and can help to increase and balance transport capacity.


Advanced DMS SCADA system (including geographical information system – GIS and outage management system – OMS)

The Distribution Management System (DMS) is the counterpart to the EMS and is therefore the control centre for the distribution grid. In countries where outages are a frequent problem, the OMS is an important component of the DMS. Other important components are fault location and interfaces to GISs.


Distribution automation systems – Feeder automation/smart reclosers system

Whereas automated operation and remote control is state of the art for the transmission grid, mass deployment of Distribution Automation has only recently become more frequent, leading to “Smart Gears”. Countries like the United States of America, where overhead lines are frequently used, benefit most. Advanced distribution automation concepts promote automatic self-configuration features, reducing outage times to a minimum (“self-healing grids”). Another step further is the use of distributed energy resources to create self-contained cells (“Micro-grids”). Micro-grids can help to assure energy supply in distribution grids even when the transmission grid has a blackout.


Substation automation system

Substation Automation and Protection is the backbone for a secure grid operation. During recent years serial bus communication has been introduced (IEC 61850). Security is based on protection schemes.


FACTS system

Refer to Transmission


DER management system

A DER management system is responsible for operation and enterprise management level of the DER assets. It performs supervision and maintenance of the components and provides information to the operators and field crew personnel and includes DER EMS/VPP capabilities for the control of the generation. It can also act as a technical VPP (tVPP) interacting directly with the DSO or as a commercial VPP (cVPP) interacting with the energy market.

Electrical energy storage management system

A electrical energy storage management system is used for operating and managing (at enterprise level) Electrical Energy Storage systems. It includes de facto such sub-systems. It performs supervision, control and maintenance of the components and provides information to the operators and field crew personnel.

Customer premises

AMI system

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) allows remote meter configuration, dynamic tariffs, power quality monitoring and load control. Advanced systems integrate the metering infrastructure with distribution automation. Smart Meter is a generic term for electronic meters with a communication link.

Metering-related back office system

Metering-related Back Office systems refer to a range of back-office systems employed to use and manage data deriving from smart metering, mostly referring to the Meter data management (MDM) related application.

Demand-Response / Load management system

Demand response (DR) system is a system used to manage on demand, grid users electric behavior, in requesting them to adapti their electricity consumption or production in response to a specific request.

Smart homes and buildings systems

Smart Homes are houses which are equipped with a home automation system that automates and enhances living. A home automation system interconnects a variety of control products for lighting, shutters and blinds, HVAC, appliances and other devices with a common network infrastructure to enable energy-efficient, economical and reliable operation of homes with increased comfort.

Building Automation and Control System (BACS) is the brain of the building. BACS includes the instrumentation, control and management technology for all building structures, plant, outdoor facilities and other equipment capable of automation. BACS consists of all the products and services required for automatic control including logic functions, controls, monitoring, optimization, operation, manual intervention and management, for the energy-efficient, economical and reliable operation of buildings.

Industrial Automation systems

Brain of the industrial plant in charge of monitoring and controlling the industrial process, and associated facilities.

E-mobility systems

The E-mobility system comprises all elements and interfaces which are needed to efficiently operate Electric Vehicles including the capability to consider them as a flexibility resource in a Smart Grid system.


Micro-grid systems

A Micro-grid system comprises all elements and interfaces which are needed to efficiently operate a micro-grid, i.e a group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources (DER) with clearly defined electrical boundaries that acts as a single controllable entity with respect to the grid and can connect and disconnect from the grid.

Market places (including trading systems)

A marketplace refers to a system where buyers and sellers of a commodity (here related to electricity) meet to purchase or sell a product in a transparent and open manner according to guidelines called market rules.

Weather observation and forecast system

A weather forecast and observation system refers to the system and all elements needed to perform weather forecast and observation calculation and to distribute the calculated geospatially referenced information to connected other systems enabling them in many cases optimized decision processes or automation

Asset management and condition monitoring system

Asset Management Systems and Condition Monitoring devices are promising tools to optimize the OpEx and CapEx spending of utilities. Condition-based maintenance, for example, allows the reduction of maintenance costs without sacrificing reliability. Furthermore they may also be used to utilize additional transport capacity due to better cooling of primary equipment, e.g. transmission lines on winter days.


Communication network management system

A communication network management system executes applications that monitor and control managed communicating devices. The communication network management systems provide the bulk of the processing and memory resources required for communication network management

Clock reference system

The clock reference system refers to the system and all elements needed to support clock master definition, time distribution and clock synchronization services to ensure a unified time management within the system.

Authentication authorization accounting system

Authentication, Authorization, Accounting (AAA) refers to information systems used to grant granular access to a device or a service by controlling what a given user or system can access and how.

“Administration” systems can/may be implemented in superposition of previous “operational systems”. In most cases, they re-use communication capabilities already present in the “operational system.