The Department of Research Technology and Development (DRTD) was established in 2014 according to the standards of similar Departments of other European Transmission System Operators for Electricity (TSOs).
DRTD’s mission is to link Research and Innovation activities of Universities - Research Institutes, industries, software and hardware manufacturers to IPTO’s current and future activities as well as to enhance its know-how in research topics, involving flexibility solutions and products, in different timescales, storage, digitalization of the power system, sector coupling of the energy domain, smart management of IPTO’s assets, TSO-DSO collaboration, etc. The main objective of RT&DD’s research activities is to prepare for the transformation of the power system, in order to increase the Renewable Energy Sources’ (RES) penetration, without risking the Resilience of the power system, in alignment with EU’s Green Deal and Energy Transition Roadmap of ENTSO-E.
To this end, DRTD participates in a number of R&I actions undertaking research projects, both at European and national level; currently, DRTD participates in eleven (11) European Research Funded Programs, as well as a program in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA). The outcomes of the abovementioned projects are oriented to solve the existing operational and strategic problems of Transmission System Operators, in view of the above energy transition challenges they face.
DRTD, representing IPTO, participates in European consortiums, transferring the necessary know-how and experience that is gained from the above projects in this transitional period, for both Greek and European Energy System contributing to the implementation of new methodologies and technologies. Moreover, during the last 6 years, DRTD has been actively involved in the drafting of ENTSO-E’s Research & Innovation Roadmap, Implementation Plan, participating at the same time in the Working Groups Research Development and Innovation Planning (RDIP), Flexibility & Markets, under the umbrella of the Research, Development and Innovation Committee (RDIC) of ENTSO-E.
In addition, the participation of DRTD in the above research projects, presupposes active involvement in the respective work packages of each project; more specifically the members of DRTD participate in tasks, conferences, compile and actively contribute to EU deliverables as defined by the respective Grant Agreements. Finally, pilot projects related to the implementation of the research takes place at the end or during the programs, in which the Department has active participation. It is worth noting that pilot tests of an Active Power Flow Controller has already taken place at Megalopolis’ Extra High Voltage Substation with remarkable results, while the application of other innovative technologies to the grid (DLR, WAMAC, 5G, SDN) are currently in progress.
Besides H2020 projects’ cash inflows and the acquired know-how, DRTD also actively contributes to the country's strategy to confront "brain drain", as it now employs nineteen (19) highly educated researchers (in addition to administrative staff).
IPTO is now one of the most active European TSO’s participating in consortiums in a growing number of proposals mainly EU ones.
A note from the Director
Dr. George P. Papaioannou, Director
Research and development (R&D) have traditionally been an important part of Transmissions System Operators’ (TSOs) activities, as the latter have always looked for more efficient ways to operate. However, Europe’s power grid is evolving quickly and in fact at a pace that is quite challenging to the TSOs. Renewable energy sources are continuously growing and their integration into the grid is the main challenge, which requires new ways of thinking in transmission system operation. ENTSO-E’s Research and Development Committee (RDC) is coordinating the R&D actions taken by TSOs, notably towards smarter grids.
In its latest report, the Research Development & Innovation Monitoring Report 2018, ENTSO-E assesses the progress of European TSO-related research and development (RD&I) activities, as those were defined within ENTSO-E’s RD&I Roadmap 2017–2026. Among the highlights of the aforementioned survey, two key findings are of the utmost importance for European TSOs:
Firstly, that for most projects, exploitation of results is projected to begin in less than five years (albeit with most results requiring additional significant investment and, in some cases, under the assumption that certain regulatory and market changes will occur).
Secondly, that TSO participation in the EU (co)financed projects, remains low compared to other stakeholders, especially with a coordinating role.
In light of these findings, IPTO’s Research, Technology & Development department (RT&D), has shifted all of its focus into an ever-increasing involvement in EU funded projects. A manifestation of that, is the fivefold number of proposals in which the department participated (for a total of 11 proposals within the fiscal year of 2020), compared to the original forecast, as well as, the noticeably increased rate at which the department partakes in new projects.
In addition, RT&D has already started taking actions towards what management feels, should, and will be, a more pivotal role in the future, within the context and scope of the EU funded research projects. Additional training focused on proposal writing, undertaking of several demonstrations/pilots, constant networking with other stakeholders, business exploitation of results and discovery of alternate revenue streams, are now among the department’s top priorities.
With Horizon Europe (2021 – 2030) RT&D aims to exploit all available opportunities, grow, evolve, and contribute to IPTO’s main mission, a transmission system that is as fertile for innovative technologies, as it is reliable for its users.
All of the above is reflected within RT&D’s 2020 Annual Report. Granted projects’ timeline, individual project description and objectives, as well as, lists of demos and pilots, for all active projects. Projects’ deliverables and research papers are also included and so is the list of researchers, both present and past, hinting, in turn, at the positive counter effect that EU funded projects can have, on the brain drain that has been tormenting Greece the past decade.
RT&D aims for its Annual Report to be as inspiring, as it is informative to the reader. In that spirit, we shall wrap up this executive summary with a quote that perfectly encapsulates the department’s modus of operandi and goals:
“The calculus of innovation is really quite simple: Knowledge drives innovation, innovation drives productivity, productivity drives economic growth” – William Brody
History and Potential