The Smart Grid International Research Facility Network (SIRFN) embodies a collaborative network of smart grid researchers, featuring test-bed facilities across nations participating in the Implementing Agreement for a Cooperative Programme on Smart Grids (ISGAN). SIRFN, under ISGAN’s auspices, offers collaborative testing and evaluation capabilities to enhance the design, implementation, and testing of smart grids and their functionalities, including the seamless integration of clean energy technologies.
In fall 2023, SIRFN introduced a new working approach that emphasizes flexible methods that can take advantage of its broad team of international experts. This innovative strategy is manifested through self-organized research sprint projects, known as Joint Research Activities, which aim to explore current and future research topics such as active distribution grids, advanced testing methods, and research infrastructures. A particular focus in the coming years are grid-forming inverters and the capabilities of advanced laboratories. Leveraging tools like Hardware-in-the-Loop, Co-Simulation, holistic testing concepts, and automated testing, SIRFN researchers are empowered to explore innovative solutions and drive advancements in smart grid development and testing technology.
The network’s structure fosters unparalleled collaboration and enables comprehensive testing and evaluation of smart grid technologies. SIRFN’s diverse array of test-bed facilities, distributed across participating countries, provide researchers with real-world environments to validate technologies under various conditions. From optimizing grid operations to integrating renewable energy sources, SIRFN’s test-bed facilities play an essential role in advancing smart grid research.
Moreover, SIRFN’s commitment to collaboration extends beyond physical infrastructure. The network actively promotes knowledge-sharing and capacity-building initiatives, facilitating workshops, training programs, and collaborative research projects. By fostering a culture of cooperation and information exchange, SIRFN empowers researchers to address complex challenges and drive innovation in smart grid technology.
Building upon its innovative work concept, SIRFN has embarked on an ambitious journey with the initiation of four Joint Research Activities (JRAs). These JRAs are designed to focus on critical areas of smart grid technology:
- Data Spaces: Creating collaborative environments for data analysis and sharing to enhance grid management and efficiency.
- Grid Code Test Automation: Developing automated processes for testing grid codes, improving consistency and reliability by extending the open SVP automation tool.
- Grid Forming Inverter Testing: Examining the effectiveness of testing grid-forming inverters in maintaining grid stability.