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Active distribution networks

The increasing diffusion of small generation requires that the distribution system evolves toward active management, in which the network Manager can act on the distributed resources by fixing the production levels of active and reactive power and/or the energy demand of some loads and the management of any energy storage, to ensure the objectives of security, reliability and efficiency of the distribution network are reached.

This new scenery, which is radically different from the present one that does not involve the management of the generators and loads connected to the distribution network, requires new developments in different aspects: . Regulatory: in the new scenery not only the DSO is responsible for the management of the systems but also the owners of the distributed energy resources. It is therefore necessary to define a new regulatory framework that sets rules for the participation of distributed resources in the management of the systems, by establishing roles, competences and responsibilities of everyone involved;
 . Infrastructural: an inexpensive and widespread communication system is required to control the loads connected to the network; in addition it is necessary to review the protection devices of the generators and the automation and control system of the network to be able to control the tension and failure test procedures;
 . Technological: the distributed resources (generation, loads and storages) should be able to operate with greater flexibility and provide services to the network. The services provided need to be measured and appropriately compensated.

The objective of RSE activities in this area is the study of new methods for the expansion of the distribution system and the development of innovative operation procedures, based on the assumption that the users connected to the network (generators and/or controllable loads) can vary their function according to network requirements. In order to make the new scenario possible it is also necessary that the regulatory and normative framework evolve and promote efficient operation of the distribution system, involving new players as well (network managers, users, traders, aggregators); RSE is a key national and European player for the definition, development and validation of normative and regulatory tools in the area of electricity networks.